By Diane Hyzy
What are your most vivid childhood memories? What are the common threads that make them so important and meaningful? Who was at the center of those cherished times?
Most of us would probably answer in a similar fashion. I remember taking vacations with my family, everyone packed into a wood-paneled station wagon and driving to Canada. I loved it when my father would let us climb onto his shoulders to dive into the cool lake. I recollect going to Girl Scout camp and making hot dogs on our buddy burners. I recall many fond school memories with teachers who inspired and classmates who made learning fun.
My general philosophy of life is that everything is good, but when it goes to the extreme it can be unhealthy. I am beginning to feel this way more and more about the infusion of technology into our daily lives.
Don’t get me wrong – I love the convenience of being able to work on my lesson plans on a laptop or the security of having a cellphone when traveling. However, is technology moving into a dangerous area where some things will be lost? Are we losing precious time and memories that can never be restored?
We all have the shared experience of being out in public watching as four individuals, who have apparently chosen to go to dinner together, never utter a word because they are entranced by their phones’ illuminating screens. No one is laughing, sharing stories or talking about how good their meal is. Silence and screens.
I recently spent an entire evening enjoying the music at a club where my son is a musician. We are talking about live music and entertainment, not pumped in songs that are blared so loud that the bass tones make your organs shake. Requests are taken and audience interaction is a huge part of why it makes for an individual experience.
I looked around and saw nothing but people bobbing their heads to the music while staring at their cellphones. Are these individuals so caught up in technology that they don’t realize that they are missing the moment and the memories? The only thing that will make them remember who they were with for the evening are the thousands of perfect selfies that were taken.
As any parent knows, time moves quickly when watching your children grow up. I feel grateful that I didn’t have the draw of a cell device while raising our boys. I see an increasing number of young parents focused on talking on their phones rather than watching their sons and daughters swinging on the swings and splashing in the pool. I may not have that perfect picture of the snowman that my sons made, but I have wonderful memories of the giggles and wet mittens we experienced while creating it.
Photographs take on a whole new conversation. Although the convenience of digital photography makes getting that perfect Christmas card shot much easier, what have we lost in the process? Sure, we can make actual prints of pictures but how often do we?
Sometimes those less-than-perfect pictures are the ones that bring back the best memories, usually coinciding with fits of laughter. There is nothing like stumbling upon a box of old photos, their cracked and yellowing corners adding to the fond feelings. Thirty years from now, will today’s youth have that same feeling when pulling up a picture on their newest smartphone?
So, pick your head up and really see what is going on around you. Memories should be make of people and events, not screens.
Diane Hyzy, of Kenmore, would rather have vivid memories than perfect digital pictures.