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Jewish World Review
June 15, 2009
/ 24 Sivan 5769
My sister was the first of us five kids to graduate from college. It was the 1970s, and I was in attendance. While my father was shooting pictures he was doing so it was later discovered without film. The only pictures salvaged from that day were a few photos I snapped on my crummy camera. (The kind with the replaceable flash cube that sat on the top; remember those?)
Flash forward, so to speak, and I watched the young children pouring out of our elementary school on their last day of classes recently and a horde of photographers, in the form of parents, were climbing over each other in an effort to get the perfect shot or 50 of their little darlings exiting the school.
My brother aptly refers to such mob scenes of camera-toting parents as "the mom-and-paparazzi." They are everywhere. I still marvel when I see them at neighborhood block parties snapping their cameras as their 4-year-old child comes down the slide or jumps in a bouncy house. Are they really going to keep and look at all these photos anyway?
Personally, I forgot my camera for my son's 8th grade graduation last week. OK, my bad. I stand in awe of the multi-generational parties commonly held by parents for their child's high school graduation this time of year, replete with piles of gifts. True my friends and I had lots of parties when we graduated from high school, it's just that our parents had no part of them and we would have thought it was really weird if they had.
OK, I also admit I like having photos of my four kids that tell the story of our lives. Yes, I frame some and put them around my house. I even have a few photos of my children getting onto a school bus or out of school on their last day. Though typically these are sent to me by a member of the mom-and-paparazzi who happen to snap my child in the process of getting to theirs, knowing my child's "achievement" would not otherwise be chronicled.
Really full disclosure is that I keep a pretty cool series of scrapbooks. But while rarely a page might feature just one child, my goal in these books is to tell the general story of our life as a family, not just to chronicle every move, from mundane to supposedly magnificent, of the individuals within it.
Anyway I know snapping a few too many photos of our kids walking out of elementary school isn't a terrible parental infraction, and taking pictures is just so much easier than it used to be. OK, maybe I'm just grumpy because it never would have occurred to my mother to be waiting for me on the last day of school with a camera.
So still, I have to think that maybe the mom-and-paparazzi regularly treating their kids like little celebrities is one more symptom of a much larger "all about me" problem in our culture.
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