Last night I was standing around the fire station with some friends. Two of them had to show me ‘home movies’ of their kids. Of course these weren’t real home movies because they were on their smart phones. A few of us were clustered around the tiny screens, listening as best we could as the kids did their adorable stuff.
But it gave me pause. I am much older than these friends and they have kids much younger than my daughters. When my girls were their ages– we took real movies. We had one of those big cameras that we would grab every time they would do something cute or just to capture important events. Even the birth of my last daughter is-for better or worse-on one of these old VHS tapes.
The thing is: my kids LOVE these tapes! My youngest daughter pulls these movies out frequently! She’ll be watching them, and sometimes drags her friends to watch them too, and then I get suckered in. Of course I get teary watching them: how cute they were with their goofy little outfits, the lisp, cake smeared on their faces or just the fact that we all still were a family then.
And this all made me wonder…with these kinds of movies becoming a rarity, how will our future generation come to enjoy these same kinds of memories? Or the parents for that matter? While a nation may share the most intimate of detail of their lives with thousands of strangers through the internet now, somehow we may have lost the gift of capturing these intimacies within our own lives.
Somehow I think we feel it is more important now to be connected to a bigger and bigger cross-section of the world. With Facebook, tweeting and the other social media we have moved away from the more personal circles. I heard on the news today about how people have stopped writing letters and would rather text. While people love to receive letters and they are tangible and can be kept (like a VHS tape), no-one will take the time any longer to write them. It’s considered a lost art.
Our world now wants everything to be immediate and throw away. What happens to the adorable clips I saw of my friends children when they get a new phone and the data card doesn’t download properly? All is lost! Even if they post it on Facebook, will their child be able to refer back to it 20 years from now to see it? And will it even be the same as having their friends crowding around a TV set watching a full length tape? A two-minute bit taken on a phone hardly compares.
It’s just another dinosaur that will go the way of extinction and with it take lovely memories and potential intimate moments a family can share. Looking back on one’s past, as and grown-up or even a young adult, can give great insight to who we are now. Laughing at the funny hairdo’s and crying at sweet sentimentality of it all is what these flashes of the past bring to us.
So while those blinks on your phone are great to share at work and Facebook, don’t forget to continue to take some real old-fashioned home movies. Your kids will thank you and you will be eternally grateful you did many years from now. Nothing beats watching my baby coming out of the C-section and hearing that first cry-even 20 years later!