Saturday, 14 May 2011

Missing the Point [Completely]

What is happening
The event of my daughters' birthday over the last couple of days has brought me back to a thought I had over the Festive Season, but which I didn't consign to the great Blogosphere - mostly 'cos of Jesus and his shenanigans. 

For those of you blessed with children (or the prospect of them): a proposition. What if, on the day you found out that you would be parents for the first or a successive occasion, I sidled up to you and said, "Sorry mate, but the thing is this - your curse is that the highlights of your children's lives will only be visible to you on your television or computer. The fact is, my old  son, you will never see them do wonderful things with your own eyes"

Quelle dommage! You might think think me a modern day Maleficent or any of those nasty green women witches from fairy tales (excluding Almira Gulch, she is not nice at all). You would be right to, given that I would be broadly suggesting that in those moments of the greatest achievements of your children, you will be rendered blind until such time as those events can be re-enlivened by way of the latest Dell or Sony. You might even smite me, quite rightly. 

What we are doing while it is happening
The thing is, it is already happening. At the last couple of nativity plays (and other such like events) that I was lucky enough to see, the little children performed their hearts out. They remembered entire tracts of text, numerous songs, verbatim. Not a syllable was dropped or queered. Perfection. The hall was full of their adoring parents all drooling happily, and rightly so. They were climbing over one another, re-arranging the furniture, dangling from climbing-frames just to get the best view... that they could stare through the view-finder of a fancy-pants digital all-bells and whistles camera while they recorded the happy event. I have no doubt that, once the tea-towel has been removed from the tousled bonce of the heir to the family wealth, that the memory cards were hastily rammed into hard-drives so that the whole family could pour wine, gather round and share the moment with pride. "There, see him? That's him just there! Third sheep from the right". This is, brothers and sisters, modern-day life. So set are we on hoarding life's moments that we actually miss those moments in their entirety. 

Think Royal Wedding or Wimbledon finals. Think Football World Cup Finals or the final test in the Ashes. Seats at the front, at the venue - or settee and telly. Surely every one of you would cut off an appendage to be there and not relegated to the lounge and its peripherals. So why do we do it for the really important stuff, like our childrens' rites of passage?

What we see of what is happening 


  1. True - but I wonder how new it is?

    The male half of first couple in our group to have a baby - who must be nearly 30 now - was obsessed with photographing his life. When he offered to show us photos of the birth his wife refused to let us see them - during the birth he was not holding her hand or otherwise encouraging her but photographing his son's emergence over the midwife's shoulder!

    Visits to the family would be punctutated by 'keep him still while I get my camera!' and anything funny or cute he did was a cause of frustration not pleasure because it hadn't been caught on camera!

  2. Red Dot Productions12 May 2011 at 16:14

    Some parents are very good about this and take the piccies so that absent grandparents can view them at a later date.

    Some grandparents, on the other hand, despite the fact that their offspring have got all these gadgets that they are so proud of, have to read some grumpy old geezer's blog to find out what their grandchildren did in the Nativity Play. Don't they?

    Some parents should stop being so flippin' grumpy and pick the flippin' video camera up now and again. Shouldn't they? (And copy the videos thus produced and send them to Granny.)

    Anyone want any footage of the Red Arrows?

  3. Grandparents can be just as bad. However, in these days of facebook and Youtube, it is likely that some of these parents will be doing this so that the performance can be shared with friends and family over a distance. If/when I become a grandparent, it will almost certainly be at a distance of around 3,500 miles and it will be great to share via social media what we can't in "real life".

  4. Dotty Dot, you know my feelings. I knew a woman once who would spend an entire day, a whole flippin day, watching fast planes through a lens. I often thought her a nutter! As for your offer of footage, I shall have to decline. My mad mother has already maxed me out there :)

  5. This is a 'nail on the head' post. Very true.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...