Forgetting the Past too Easily

A few weeks ago, our family took a trip to the Biltmore house in Ashville, North Carolina. Our daughters had read a Carole Marsh Mystery- The Mystery of The Biltmore House which prompted the interest in the trip. For weeks leading up to it, we were excited about getting to see the house all decorated up for Christmas.

Biltmore House

Biltmore House

As we walked through the house, it was fun to see our girls talk about the house from their memory of the book. Carole Marsh does a fantastic job with her books for kids. She is extremely detailed in describing real places and the main characters are real kids. This particular book was written in 1981, so some things had changed, but for the most part it was extremely accurate.

We had a blast. Normally, it would be a constant battle to try and keep them focused and interested during a walk through tour of an old house. While the Biltmore is considered America’s castle and while it was decorated beautifully for Christmas, the fact of the matter is that they were interested because of the book. If you have young kids who like to read, I highly recommend the Carole Marsh Mysteries.

But alas, this blog post is less about that and more about the fact that I realized during the trip that I am too easily forgetting my past experiences. You see, the Norcross High School chorus sang during the Christmas season AT the Biltmore House when I was a senior. I was there, yet I remember nothing of it. Seriously, that wasn’t that long ago.

I vaguely remembered singing at the house. I remember small details of the trip, but it seems to me that I should remember a whole lot more than I do. My senior year wasn’t the most focused, I admit that. It is just sad to me because chorus was such an important part of my high school experience that you would think that trips such as this would be more memorable. Heck! I started dating my wife when I was a senior. I hope I don’t lose those memories too!

Part of the blame in this case can be placed on the Biltmore House’s no photograph policy. I am certain that if we had photographs of the concert from the inside that I would remember more.

However, I got to thinking about what this means for future generations. Taking pictures and video is so simple and easy to do now. Will our kids remember their life experiences more than we do because they have access to visual media of their experiences? Or does the easy access to the capture process takeaway from the actual experience? Do we lose the rawness of the moment because we’re pausing to capture and document it all? I’m sure that younger folks think that the Biltmore House is crazy for not allowing photos.

I see kids my girls age who already have iPod touches…even iPads. There isn’t anything wrong with that (though it isn’t our immediate plan for our girls) but I wonder if kids are getting that digital connection/addiction too soon. It seems to me that their experiences need to be made with their 5 senses and not through a digital lens.

What do you think? 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “Forgetting the Past too Easily

    • We look at pictures all the time in our family, but I know your point about them being everywhere. I don’t have a ton of pictures from my activities growing up. Sometimes I wonder if I ever played little league or acted in plays, but I remember those experiences even if I can’t find an album to look through.

  1. I agree with you about experiences through the 5 senses, I also think it is important for kids to understand technology and how it works. A basic understanding can be built upon and nurtured into something more advanced. It should be presented as a tool, but not as a way of life. A tool for entertainment, education, connection, etc… Tech should add to life and not hamper it. It’s a parents job to guide their children through this understanding, not just hand them a device and hope they are occupied. Maybe I am an idealist, but when my own son is old enough, I hope I can still get him out of the house and climbing trees, playing kickball in the culdesac or even getting muddy in a creek.

    • Exactly, Brad. I for one am the worst offender at being too attached to the devices. I don’t want them to have to occupy themselves with a game or ebook. I want them to draw, read a real book, interact with others 🙂

      I’ll be happy to be labeled an idealist.