The Day I Stopped Being A Zombie Parent!

Maybe it's time we put the cameras away and allow the picture to develop in our minds instead of on a memory card
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Today, with technology literally at our fingertips, we are able to capture every moment and experience we have. Taking pictures of every little thing we come in contact with -- our food, our kids and really all of our experiences -- so much so that we forget to truly enjoy the moments we are living. A few weeks ago, I went on a trip with my daughter's class to the Sugar Bush. While we were there, the kids were given an opportunity to experience what it was like to work on the farm by carrying the tools and checking the buckets for sap. Each parent -- including myself -- quickly scrambled for their smartphones and started happily snapping away yelling 'smile' or 'over here' as the kids tried to enjoy the moment. When I came home, I sat down and scrolled through the pictures I had taken. While I did this, I noticed how happy my daughter was; I noticed how her little hands were holding the buckets and the wonder in her eyes when looking into the bucket to see if there was sap. I could see how much she enjoyed this experience, but, to my dismay, I also realized that although I had the pictures to prove it, I didn't have the bursting emotions I should have to go along with the pictures. Instead of actually living in the moment, I hid behind my camera -- or phone -- and forgot to take in the beauty of it all. This left me heartbroken. How many moments like this had I been present for, but in fact had missed? How many times had I hid behind my phone thinking I was present when in truth, I was not? How many times had I been a zombie parent -- physically there, but emotionally unaware?

There is no doubt that the landscape of parenting has changed drastically in the last 10 years. The personal invasion that social media and technology has made on our existence and experiences is colossal and it has literally changed the way we live. No doubt technology and everything that comes with it is incredible. However, we have managed to allow it to take the place of our emotions, our sensations and our excitements. Think of this: How many times have you thought about a memory -- one that you don't have a physical picture of -- and how many times has that simple thought and visualization of that memory in your mind brought you sheer and utter joy? Now, think of the possibly thousands of pictures on your smartphone that you have probably taken hastily in an effort to preserve the moment or memory. How do you feel when you look at them? For me, there is no doubt that the pictures -- especially of my kids -- still bring me joy, but the emotional attachment to the moment is nowhere to be found. That feeling of joy and of remembering the smell in the air or the feelings from that moment are nonexistent because the only feelings left are the panic of "where's my phone" or "wait... my storage is full I need to delete some pics before I can take a new one." Sad, isn't it?

Maybe it's time we put the cameras away and allow the picture to develop in our minds instead of on a memory card. Maybe it's time we allowed ourselves the joy of the moment instead of trying so hard to hold onto something superficial because, if we were to lose our phones, then we've also lost our memories with it -- now that would be awful.

My message is this: Instead of trying so hard to snap and record every moment on our devices, maybe it's time we sat back and allowed the remarkable mechanism that is our heart, soul and mind to record them because clearly, what they are able to capture can never be seen, felt or transmitted through the lens of our smartphones.

With all my love,


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