THE PERKS OF BOREDOM
How many of us, as parents, dread these words or have been driven up the wall in exasperation?
Most of us I’m sure have been in that spot and resorted to activities, classes, books, and let’s be honest when all else has failed, to devices.
Yours truly has been guilty of it as well till the day I recalled my own vacations and my mother’s way of dealing with it. The first two days would go peacefully, she would tolerate our (my sister’s and mine) mood swings but by the third day her patience would give up and she’d give us a piece of her mind (and bought herself peace of mind). She would tell us in as many words, “Your boredom is not my problem. Find ways to occupy yourself.” That was enough to send us scooting, out of the way of her missiles.
I’m sure Maria Semple had a mother like mine (or knew one) when she made a character in her book, Where’d you go Bernadette, who mouths these words – ‘That’s right,’ she told the girls. ‘You are bored. And I’m going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it’s boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it’s on you to make life interesting, the better off you’ll be.’
Boredom is often times a boon. In this hyper stimulating world, kids who are allowed to get bored will discover that they:
Start loving their company
Spark creative thoughts
Exercise their imagination
You can’t be there all the time. Curb the urge to try and keep your kids engaged with exciting activity at all times. And in the process, the me time that you crib about, you’ll get that too!
Having said that, even us grown ups are afraid of inactivity. Don’t fear it – learn how to vanquish it. This may come in several forms: You might turn inward and use the time to think. You might reach for a book. You might imagine your way to a better job. Boredom leads to flights of fantasy. But ultimately, to self-discipline. To resourcefulness. And making our kids handle it head-on just might be one of the best things we can do for them.
After reading this, I hope you feel a sense of comfort in allowing your children and yourself to get bored at times. Remember you don’t have to burn yourself out trying to keep your kids engaged and happy every moment of the day! And as the American novelist Chuck Palahnuik aptly ponders, “Did perpetual happiness in the Garden of Eden maybe get so boring that eating the apple was justified?”
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