Many students are pleasantly surprised by the way that these requirements can stimulate creativity and ideas. I give one assignment called "Routine", in which students are asked to create a drawing based on one of their routines. Hopelessly addicted to chocolate pudding, one student depicted an exaggerated tower of empty pudding cups while another student visually represented flashbacks of his mother's death from cancer.
These days, we can consume our art in conditions of perfection: CD's with no crackle or static, photographs with no scratches. But I think we all find something intriguing in the idea of the disturbance. We love the Easter egg in the video game, the intentional flaw of a Navajo rug or a quilt. More and more of us have tired of the digital clarity of a CD, and film is still being produced for those who want the imperfections of a negative in the darkroom.
I realized we are so limited in our thinking and the universe is so abundant, it's our fears that block it. When I set out on the streets of New York with my camera, there is that moment of doubt that all artists feel. "I can't do this. This time it won't work. I'm a fraud." And then, like learning to play the harmonica, or getting up on skates for the first time, you're flying, and the hair on the back of your neck stands on end and you lose all track of time. That's it, for me anyway.
Of course, it's not just our privacy that has been sacrificed: our freedom of speech and our right to due process have been sacrificed by the same laws, and with the same justification, that paved the way to systematic and secret violation of privacy. So what the likes of Feinstein are really saying is that the American way of life has less value than 2996 innocent lives.
Orwell never could have imagined that the National Security Agency (NSA) would amass metadata on billions of our phone calls and 200 million of our text messages every day. Orwell could not have foreseen that our government would read the content of our emails, file transfers, and live chats from the social media we use.
Arguably, the most important thing to remember is what has long-term implications. Trust is a fragile commodity and is easily damaged. Always assume that they will "fact check" you in some way. It may not be right away, but inevitably, the topic -- whatever it is -- will come up at some point with their siblings, cousins, friends or teachers.
Childhood is brief; as the ubiquitous presence of media exposes our little ones to more and more "realities", they are being pushed to grow up at accelerated rates. Despite the arguments one can make about the importance of telling children the true truth, there are times when I believe it is okay to blur the edges of reality, as long as no one is being hurt.
In any given day, I can find a thousand reasons to say, "Don't do that," from telling my child to stop playing with the jam packets in a restaurant to telling my husband not to use the last piece of toilet paper without replacing the roll. But I don't. I pick my battles. Because to dole out "No's" like playing cards can't be good for the soul.
Paradoxically, in parents' well-intentioned attempts at protecting their children from harm, they actually leave them less prepared for the real dangers that your kids will face later in life. Exposure to what are for them risky experiences can build confidence, resilience, competence, respect, and responsibility.
There were lots of moments when I wished someone were there to help me. But because there wasn't, I learned resourcefulness. I learned self-reliance. I learned that if I stayed calm and used my head, I could find my way through just about anything. These are lessons I carry with me to this day--and that have served me very well.