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Loving and Protecting Other People's Children (and Their Privacy)

Hi. You. Yes, you , my fellow parent. Here you are, in the class with our kids. Aren't they incredible? It's amazing, isn't it, how cute they all are, and how warm and fuzzy it makes us parents feel to see them having fun with each other. Cameras and video cameras don't even really capture it. We'll have to make an emotion memory that the photos and videos will trigger.

The little inside jokes. The things they like. The toothless grins. The grins with teeth a little too large yet for faces still sort of small. Not as small as last year, though, or even last month. They all have something just so particular to the special stage of this age. I don't know how to explain it. It's how they like certain things now, things they didn't appreciate or even know a few months ago, things that may not matter in a little while from now.

There are things right now that our lives revolve around and sometime soon, it will be a memory.

Remember that lovie, the one that had to go everywhere? And it was as important to you because you knew the devastation forgetting it would bring. But really it's because of the unbearable love we have for these precious children. We love them thus we love what they love.

I except some music and television and popular culture things that will unite them in laughter when they are older, "OMG remember when we ADORED Selena Gomez and she was the COOLEST?!?!"

Here our kids are: in this state of who they are right now. Having fun. It's a special occasion, a class party, a performance. Something that brings a little lump to our parental throats if we ponder the path to now -- from squirming newborn to tall, proud child singing and laughing.

We want to capture this, treasure it forever in our hearts and on film.

Someday our children may be apart, moved on, and these photos and videos will remind them Of When. They will point and laugh at photos, "Oh wow, remember her? We were best friends, and were all into pillow pets, loved them!" They'll feel happy and warmed from recalling, and maybe a wee bit sad to have that as the past.

I wasn't there, for that one event, whatever it was, but I was so glad you were, Other Parent, and that you took these super cute photos and shared them with the rest of us on the school photo site.

I also really appreciated that you did not post them on your social media sites. You didn't put my child's image and name on your blog, on your Facebook, on your Twitter, Flickr, Pinterest, Tumblr, Storify, etc. I appreciated that you respected my child's privacy and did not, at least not without asking me first, share my child and her moment with the world at large.

Respecting my child's privacy is so special.

It means you understand that just because my child was there and part of the story that you preserved on film doesn't mean you have the right to distribute that story -- my child, her face, her name -- across the Internet. I'm not sure whether you came up with this on your own, if you read an article somewhere, or if the school was wise enough to say, "Hey parents, remember to respect the other children's privacy and not share their names and photos online," or something like that.

Either way, thanks for not sharing it with the whole world, and thanks for putting it on a private and protected place to share it with me.


Jardinero1 said…
"just because my child was there and part of the story that you preserved on film doesn't mean you have the right to distribute that story -- my child, her face, her name -- across the Internet." That is an interesting sentiment. If I was there and I don't have a right to share the story, then who does? Where does this "don't share if you were there" theory stop. Are news and sportscasters not allowed to share the story they are reporting. There is not a single criminal or civil statute or even a legal principle to support the idea. It doesn't even square with reality.

Being seen and photographed in public is an unavoidable consequence of living. The only way to avoid it is to hide in your house all day like Greta Garbo. There is little difference between my child being seen on a social networking site and being seen playing unsupervised on the street in front of my house, or at a park or in a store. I photograph my kids with their friends all the time. Occasionally, I post them on Facebook or the like. There is no potential or actual harm to anyone in doing so.
KnownTexas said…
I have foster babies whose photos CAN'T be posted online. Really appreciate this reminder!

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