I remember going to a birthday party for a child some years ago and as the child was enjoying the party and family, their parents were moving around with cameras attached to their noses. It bothered me but I wasn’t able to figure out what to say about it. But now I do.
Last week my niece, Phoebe, invited me on night walk with her classmates. It was beautiful. Each of the first and second graders carried a handmade paper maché lantern and sang a song as they walked on a path through a local park. The winding trail of candle lit globes was fairy-like and a photo of it all would have been lovely.
But Phoebe’s school discourages photography at their events and I have come to cherish this philosophy. What is a more powerful memory for a child – the photo in the album or the experience of a story told to loving listeners over and over again?
My answer to those with camera-noses is this – be there to witness life, and tell the stories.
My parents are weeding through their mementos, and while I occasionally take home some of the “stuff,” it is more important to me that I hear the stories, and retell them.