Not long ago, our nearly twelve-year-old daughter asked for a digital camera for Christmas. At first, we did not give this request much thought. A digital camera for a twelve-year-old seems extravagant. We thought she was too young to handle the responsibility of owning such an expensive item, not to mention the cost for us. Plus, even though we say we do not play the game of making everything even, we were perplexed about what we would give her older brother and sister for Christmas, in comparison with buying her a digital camera. Yet, in the few months before Christmas, the idea grew in her mind and each time she asked to borrow our digital camera, we let her do it, and we watched closely.
The fact was, she is a little girl and she wanted the camera for fun. She already had an old polaroid camera her grandmother had given her a few years earlier. She used it constantly, but her allowance was always being eaten up by the high cost of the film. She already knew (better than I, I might add) how to use our digital camera and she even knew how to upload the photos to the computer, and use them for emails and websites. Soon, we decided to at least consider the idea, and do a bit of research on lower-end digital cameras.
We were surprised to learn how quickly the price had come down from when we had first bought our digital camera a few years earlier. We found that we could buy a camera comparable to our own that was only a fraction of what we had paid. Go figure. After talking it over a bit more, we decided that since we could buy her a decent digital camera for well under one hundred dollars, it was worth it. Besides, she was still fixating on the camera, and using ours constantly; not to mention, using up our expensive batteries. We found a good camera and wrapped it up for Christmas.
We had one very surprised little girl in our house on Christmas morning. After telling her over and over that a digital camera was too extravagant and that she should not expect to get one unless she saved her allowance and bought one for herself one day, she was shocked and delighted when she opened the package. She began snapping photos almost immediately and we happily knew we had done the right thing. But it does not end there.
Our daughter soon discovered myspace.com. She and several of her friends had set up sights there and before we knew it, she had put up pictures of the entire family all over her site. The camera became an obsession for her. She took it with her everywhere and was always capturing herself, her friends, the weather, the pets, and even total strangers on her digital camera. We have photos of ourselves as we brush our teeth in the morning, that she snapped as she popped into the bathroom, camera in hand. We have photos of ourselves in the car, driving here and there. We have photos of all of us around the dinner table, the lunch table, the breakfast table, the game table, and in various restaurants. We have photos of all friends and relatives who have come to visit since the camera was acquired, and we have photos of our daughter's basketball team, soccer team, church group, and all her various friends.
When I look back at my own youth, I have one single photo album that covers my middle school and high school years. If we were to put my daughter's photos into an album, we would need an entire library. The world is certainly a different place with computers and digital cameras. Now we can not only keep photos and other remembrances for posterity; we can keep nearly everything. She has managed to take, email, crop and save hundreds and hundreds of photos. While I have photos of the highlights of my young life, she has photos of nearly every move in hers. Yes, it is certainly a different world. But I will say this: the digital camera we bought our daughter has definitely paid for itself!