He came into my room with a photograph in his hands. I turned to Tanner and asked where he got it. “I got the box down that you said would have the stapler in it and found this in there”. He handed me the photograph and I instantly smiled. My two oldest boys together back in 2015. I handed it back to Tanner and he sat on the edge of our bed giving it another look. “I can’t believe how young we look”… “Look at how cute Owen is”… and as I sat there listening to him I was overcome with the reminder of why we document our lives. Why I have a passion for memory keeping. The joy I find in being our family’s archivist. And the importance of printed photographs and how much they bless our home and family.
Craig Steinberg, a licensed psychologist in Eugene Oregon who works with children from 5 to 13 years of age says, “My personal and clinical bias is there is something very powerful in touching your fingers to an actual print. Touching the photograph where a face is smiling or the shoulders, it is the same thing as touching a book when you read it. There’s a lot of stimulation of the brain when you have that sensory experience. That is a bit lost in the move to digital. You are touching a keyboard, mouse or a touchscreen but you are not touching the image.”
As much as technology has blessed our lives and all the things it has made readily available to us, the real truth is that technology is not dependable. At any moment a computer’s hard drive can fail, that cloud storage company could shut down or experience a glitch, or that smartphone with the full camera roll could be damaged with no hope of retrieving the thousands of pictures you had on there. Story after story, post after post has been shared of fellow parents who have mourned the loss of lost memories after any one of the above situations – I see it all the time on social media.
How much trust have you put in technology? Can you remember the last time you printed a photograph? When is the last time you sat down and smiled, cried and laughed over memories of times past?
From the beginning of time, we as humans have always been connected to imagery as a way to communicate and archive our history and stories. In more recent times, scientific studies have shown that there is a benefit to our brains when we enjoy physical photographs. Phototherapy in Mental Health by David A. Krauss, Ph.D. comes to mind. And there are many more studies done on this very subject.
These days, we are continually warned about the effects that screens and technology can have on our children. We are asked to be diligent in ensuring that their time spent on them is limited. Why? Because their brains are still developing. And we as humans learn and soak in so much more when we are able to use all of our senses. Touching a photograph has a much more powerful impact than seeing it through a screen. A screen denies us of the connection. And in this day in age and all the dark things we face, humanity needs as much connection as it can get. Why would that not start in our homes? And why would that not include our photographs?
If you have not yet begun the process of figuring out how to unearth your family’s story from the thousands of files you feel like you are drowning in, I urge you too. I can speak from first hand experience the joy and contentment it will bring into your home. The idea that your children or loved ones can pull an album from the shelf and flip through to see their favorite memories, or that you can find your favorite photograph to hold in your hands – that kind of commodity in our lives this day in age is priceless. And worth every effort taken to make it possible.
We cannot let technology rob of us of the blessing that comes with connecting to our past. From where we come from. For our children to hold in their hands pieces of their own story. To see where they come from. And how much they are loved. We cannot let the blessing and ease of technology cloud our understanding of how important a printed photograph still is to us as humans. To our history. To our posterity.
And as I work to bring you all of the help I can in this very important area of our lives, I would love to hear from you!
Where are you at in the process of ensuring your memories are safe?
Where are you at in the process of being able to enjoy your memories when you would like to?
Have you experienced a loss of personal memories and photographs because of an unforeseen catastrophe?
What frustrations do you currently have when trying to enjoy your memories?