Thursday, September 17, 2009
He is bored. Really?
We are often very influenced by our preconceived notions about life, even without realizing it. So when I hear parents say that their child is bored and they have to find something for their kids to do or find them a place to go, I often wonder if the parent is really the one who is feeling bored. I think boredom in general is a social construct. Little kids have no such concept unless it's taught to them. Take a little kid and let him out into a relatively unkempt backyard without swings or fancy toys. Without any prompting, most of the time he will find plenty to do to keeep himself occupied for hours on end. Chances are he'll be digging and raking and making mud pies. Touching everything in sight. He'll invent new uses for half broken toys or implements. He'll collect flowers, chase butterflies, look closely at all the little critters, collect stones, make up games or just plain enjoy the sun on his face and the wind in his hair. He'll be thrilled just to be outdoors. Little children generally find plenty to do, in fact that's exactly what often drives their parents to distraction. Children naturally have a feeling that the world is such a beautiful and exciting place with endless possibilities. We as parents have to reinforce this outlook as they grow. So the statement "I have nothing to do" is factually incorrect. There is always something to do. The options might not always be equally appealing but they are there nonetheless. We have to teach our children to use their time constructively, to find solutions, to think creatively and not get used to wasting or wiling their time away. It's important to try and teach them good habits while they are young so it will benefit them throughout their lifetime. So next time your kid complains that he is bored and he has nothing to do, start him on the road to meaningful and mindful living.