Vancouver, British Columbia
My son died when he was 17. I cherish the art he made at all ages, and I wish I had kept more of it. It is all we have anymore.
Many parents now may well choose to keep and discard their children’s art via a junk drive and a camera. That seems the best alternative to me. I have often wished my parents had saved at least an example of my art at various ages. The earliest evidence of my art is a photo of me at age 4, sitting at the blackboard that my wonderful parents had placed on the kitchen wall. My chalk drawing is of a kitty. No one minds that chalkboard drawings get erased, as that must happen in order for more art to happen. I also have a painting on glass of a red bird from first grade (photos were placed under glass and we were to duplicate them), and my first oil painting from age 13 (a still life), when I took private lessons. These are treasures. After I am gone they may not mean anything to anyone, but they are heartwarming to me, because they serve to remind me of my parents’ support of my art talent.
I hope parents will digitally document and treasure their children’s art. After all, some of them may grow up to get art degrees and produce meaningful art that makes the world a better and more beautiful place.
Digitize it. Take pictures of it. Let kids decide for themselves what to do with it when they grow up.
The same might apply to 90 percent or more of parental photography, especially with the first child.
Battle Creek, Mich.
Why not delete the videos of my 5-year-old daughter trying to shoot a basketball? She’s absolute garbage; she’s made two baskets after about 50 attempts. I have the video; it’s adorable.
We don’t always remember how much we’ve improved, or how we’ve developed over time. Capturing and saving the highlights of my child’s past can be a good thing, and both she and I can appreciate it later on.
My first thought after reading Townsend’s article on tossing children’s art was to ponder the age of the author. I am nearly 70 now and made a major move just three years ago. At the time, my husband and I went through boxes and filing cabinets filled to the brim with bits and pieces of our lives together, which included raising three children. We were pretty good about tossing things that were nothing special and things we thought the kids would not really be interested in. But among the things we did keep were a number of their art projects. Some we kept because the kids had had art lessons from their aunt for a few years, so their projects had actually gotten pretty good—a few are even framed and hanging in the living room. Others, although not worthy of framing, were saved anyway. Why? Not because they were valuable to anyone, not because the kids might treasure them someday, but because they made us smile when we looked at them. In my middle age, I would see them and think, Hmm—cute, but is it really worth keeping? Is it just clutter?