Saturday, September 26, 2009

Private Memories

My brother Eric, who could be a professional photographer with little trouble, has the philosophy that if you spend all of your time behind a camera or video lens there is a great deal that you can miss.
This plays out in our household on a regular basis. An interesting bird or animal shows up in our yard and I can choose to run for the camera or just sit and enjoy. If I go for the camera then I run the risk of the creature disappearing before I've had a chance to get a good look at it. On the other hand, if it stays then I might get a photo as a permanent memento. What a dilemma! It certainly allows me to see the advantages of Charlotte Mason's method of Nature Study~observe and draw it in your journal as soon as you can.

As the person with the super senses in our house (everyone knows that Moms hear, see and smell all), I am privy to conversations and happenings when my children are unaware that I am paying attention. This gives me the opportunity to provide guidance and correction where necessary. Perhaps what is more fun is that it also allows me to build up my own storehouse of memories that no camera could duplicate.

Yesterday, for instance, after we had finished with our history lesson on the Emperor Justinian and the Byzantine Empire, the girls were having a conversation about why they were glad that Justinian and Theodora had rebuilt the Hagia Sophia after the rebellion had been overthrown. Not only did the discussion tell me that they remembered the lesson well enough not to even need the test (which they got anyway), but it made me smile inside to hear my 7yo throw around terms like Hagia Sophia with such dispatch and talk about how she felt about an event that happened 1500 years ago.
This morning J came into my room holding a 9 inch blue ball under her chin and asked me if I thought she looked like a Frigate bird. Yes, I laughed. And then proceeded to hug her until she pretended she was choking. No photograph could possibly convey the context of that experience.

I'm sure that every mother has in her mind and heart page after page of such memories for which there can be no picture to do it justice.
I pray that nothing every happens to that scrapbook.


  1. *sigh* It is a dilemma. My mother preached her "live in the moment" sermon every time I carried my video camera with me.

    I think it's always a tough call -- to record or not to record, in photos or in film -- then I see footage of Mama. Now that she's gone, it is really hard not to go for that camera.

    On the other hand, your anecdotes challenge me to keep a good balance between both good practices. Thanks.

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