Art and Kids
Reprinted from Edhat : Mar 06, 2010, 9:00 AM
By Mike Shinn
One of the greatest gifts a parent can receive is artwork from their child. When our daughter creates drawings or art projects, we are very excited, but months later our excitement continues to turn to our daughter's newest project. All parents must eventually make a decision: to keep or not to keep.
There is an appropriate time to part with Thanksgiving hand-turkey drawings and that time is not in May. Admittedly, my wife and I are both packrats. I continue to save my own schoolwork from kindergarten, in our attic. Still, real estate in Santa Barbara is not cheap, despite the recent economic slump. Every square foot counts, and there's only so much room in the attic for extra fire hazards. It's simply unrealistic to try and keep all of your child's original work in perpetuity.
Unfortunately, children are not born with as strong a sense of practicality as they are with emotional attachment. It only takes one art project found in the garbage beneath discarded pudding cups to cause attachment and trust problems that can last a lifetime. I've heard of parents sneaking out to their garbage at night with expired artwork so that their kids will not know. It's only a matter of time before other psychological issues are passed down as a result of this type of behavior.
The ultimate problem is that as parents, we want to save the work of our kids for a number of reasons, but logistically it is far too difficult. The good news is that we live in a digital age. My wife and I have discovered that taking a quick digital picture of the artwork as we receive it preserves it forever. Then, when it is eventually destroyed by a pet or accidentally torn up or thrown away intentionally, we continue to have the gift. It costs nothing, as we already have the camera - no need to print a hard copy. If you set your computer's screensaver to scroll through these images, I would like to believe that you show your kids that you value their work even though it is gone from the physical world.
Quick tip: if the artwork you are photographing is laminated or shiny, avoid lighting problems by taking the picture at a slightly-off angle or turning off your flash and photographing with a lot of natural light. Take several pictures at different angles - extras cost nothing to go back and delete later!