This year for science, my son is studying birds. Part of that study has been keeping a bird watching book, in which he writes down the features of the birds he sees, and then identifies them. It started off well enough, but quickly we hit an issue: rather than sitting and watching the birds, he wanted to take a photo with my phone, and then use the photo to record the birds’ features. Part of that desire came from the number of times he started to write only to have the bird fly away, and I sympathized. And yet, I can’t help feeling that something valuable is lost by the mediation of the phone, and by the failure to practice attention to the living creature in front of him.

 

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