Missing Memories to Capture Moments

Take a moment to look at the picture above. Is this how you want your children to remember you? Is this the picture you want your children to recall as they reminisce about their fondest childhood memories?

Last week we celebrated Christmas with my in-laws; we call it Eyerly Christmas. Noah got a toy airplane from his aunt and uncle. The plane came with a toy drill and screws and is meant to be taken apart and reassembled. Last night, our family decided to make a game of it and see who could put it together the fastest; the result was a wonderful memory.

Hannah and I had an advantage, because we had disassembled and reassembled it multiple times, but Carrie had not. When Carrie got her turn, we all laughed hysterically at her confusion and hilarious attempts to reconstruct this toy airplane. Hannah and I refused to help her (primarily because we were laughing so hard we wouldn’t have been able to help if we’d wanted to, but Rebekah felt sorry for mom and decided to help). Needless to say, she came in last place.

After we were finished Hannah asked, “Did we get that on video?”

We live in an age where cameras are so accessible we can practically catch everything. However, we often use these devices to capture moments rather than make memories. What do I mean by that? What’s the difference?

I will not go on a social media rant, but let me say this -social media thrives on captured moments. However, those moments must often be staged, edited, and recaptured (over and over and over) to acquire a satisfactory number of the ever-so-coveted “likes”. The “captured moment” (which is no longer a captured moment but rather a staged moment) is then posted to social media. The central focus of that moment is no longer the memory but rather the number of likes it will rack up on Facebook. The more likes it procures, the more often we check it, because we somehow believe it is a gauge to evaluate how well we are liked by our peers.

The number of likes becomes the lens through which we look at that memory. Even as we share the memory next month or next year, we will filter the fondness of the memory through the sum total of social media likes.

However, when our family looks at the toy airplane lying on the living room floor, we will have a fond memory of Mom trying her hardest to figure out how to get this toy airplane together. It will not  be viewed through the lens of Facebook likes; it will be viewed through the eyes of children who will remember their parents sitting on the floor, giving their undivided attention to them as they all played this silly game.

In fact, the lens through which we see that toy will become the memory of Mom trying to reassemble it. Fifty years from now when we are gone, Hannah might find this toy airplane in her attic and laugh as she tells her grandchildren the story of the night their great grandmother had the hardest time figuring out how to put it back together.

I say again -Take a moment to look at the picture above. Is this how you want your children to remember you? Is this the picture you want your children to recall as they reminisce about their fondest childhood memories?

Our children won’t remember (or even know) how many likes their pictures got. They won’t read the comments or relish in the fact that a video went viral. When we focus on capturing moments, we miss the richest sense of satisfaction we’ll ever experience -making memories with those we love. True satisfaction is not found in “likes” but in genuine love and relationships. This Christmas, and all year long for that matter, focus on making memories instead of capturing moments.

Merry Christmas!

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