Excitement, vigor, cheer, and an old digital camera were all the things that my nephew brought along to our trip at the LA Zoo. With his newly acquired interest in photography, he was adamant about snapping photos of every animal he laid eyes on. This included a pigeon in the parking lot that was not too keen of our presence and scurried away at the sight of a eager toddler. Fortunately for us, the animals in the zoo did not have the luxury to reject our attention. Tapirs, hippos, flamingos, jaguars, leopards, monkeys, reindeer, and alligators became subjects for my nephew to capture.
My nephew’s interest in photography has opened doors to accelerate his artistic, visual, and technological capabilities. It also became an opportunity for him to build critical life skills such as demonstrating responsibility and accountability. Before we entered the zoo, my nephew was insistent to hold his camera and truthfully, I was hesitant due to the POSSIBLE consequences such as: 1.) He could drop the camera (2.) break the camera (3.) lose the camera. I asked him if he wanted that to happen and he said “no.” The best decision was to let him prove it and sure enough, he did! I was so impressed to see my nephew turn off the camera after usage and gently placing it back in his pocket. His hand didn’t leave his pocket, thus he never lost contact with his camera. That was the most responsible I’ve ever seen my nephew. (In contrast, he usually throws or dismantles things). He understood that the camera is something worth taking care of and will require his attention if 1.) he doesn’t want to drop it, (2.) break it, or (3.) lose it- which all displays responsibility and accountability. I’m glad that I didn’t allow my doubts to determine my nephew’s aptitudes because I would have sold him short. Although sometimes that’s all it really is- is to have faith in people and the best of them will unravel.
My nephew just turned 4 and is still solidifying his memory skills. I hope that he can look at the pictures he took three years from now and recall the weather, how he felt, and what it was like to be a first-time photographer on that day. Well, he was a little bummed that the elephants were unavailable. However, I hope that the freshly popped kettle corns I bought were enough to compensate his disappointment. We ended our zoo adventure with pizza and then topped it with a chocolate cake pop. Rest assure (with a sigh of relief), we also left the zoo with all the things that he brought: Excitement, vigor, cheer, and an old digital camera.