conveniently troublesome

March 13, 2017 § 5 Comments

Our daughter’s school trip utilized social media for the purpose of sharing photographs with parents and permitted cell phones for communication, time (in place of a watch), and camera use. When they first outlined these details in the family pre-travel meeting, my daughter was uninterested in bringing a phone. My husband and I suggested she use her phone for photographs but resist the temptation to check in with us. To disconnect from her phone and connect with her environment.

In the same meeting we listened to humorous anecdotes of previous trips, parents calling the chaperones to ask questions based on social media snapshots of the trip. My husband and I laughed along with the collective amusement of the other parents at the obvious interference of helicopter parents and pledged not to disrupt our daughter’s exercise in independence.

Then, our daughter left home and early online images of her trip challenged our conviction. Looking at the social media snapshots of our daughter’s first day, I wondered such insignificant worries. Why are some chaperones so much more thoughtful in their documentation, while our’s appears lacking. Other times I would catch the corner of my daughter’s image and wonder if she were warm enough, tended to.

The pictures were inconsequential to my daughter’s experience and their value disproportionate to my doubts.

It is a strange disparity in pictures. The stories we tell ourselves and the meaning we infer. This age of hyper-connectivity invites unwelcome comparison and worry. These conveniences meant to lend comfort, invite opportunities for troublesome interference and undermine the illusion of independence our children need for maturity.

Modern conveniences let us meddle in a way that sabotages mindfulness with a distortion of truth. At the end of the second day it took every ounce of willpower not to pepper my daughter with reminders, to use the information I had been given to assume and infer, interrupt and instruct.

Today I’m celebrating the invitation to succeed with an imperfect practice of patience. Setting aside the stories I’ve created for my daughter’s photographs, to better fill in the space of her absence with the stories she tells face to face. Honoring the spirit of our first instructions with actions, disconnecting online to reconnect in realtime.


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§ 5 Responses to conveniently troublesome

  • I hadn’t thought of that Marie. Technology does remove that independance somewhat, and tends to block the excitement of all the stories when they get back, simply because so much information has already been ‘beamed’ back, and the excitement of relaying the events on returning has ‘lost its shine’ so to speak 😀
    I see there is advantages as well as disadvantages, depending how you look at it 😀

  • candidkay says:

    Oh, yes. The parental worries that come up from social media. And the parents that tend to post their kids’ social activities, many of which involve only some classmates, not all. Which is crazy making for those parents whose kids are not involved. Was it easier for our parents, not knowing? I’m thinking so:).

    • Maybe life was a little easier. Simpler. In my mind I conjure the shape of an experience I can only imagine; a sepia filtered sentiment of a Norman Rockwell ideal. In reality there were probably a different set of problems I might not be so quick to trade in exchange for fleeting frustrations.

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