“We don’t say BORING in this family!” my four year old announced one day when her Daddy asked her what she was doing as she danced, twirled, hopped, and skipped around the kitchen singing to herself. Our Daddy found her antics so adorable that he decided to pull out his camera and take a little video of her that might reappear at any moment, say perhaps on her wedding day – so you can hear his voice in the background of the video asking her, “Are you bored?”
The next thing you see is a close up of her face looking straight into Daddy’s camera announcing, “We don’t say BORED in this family!” Hands on hips and a determined look on her face, she then turns and twirls back into the middle of the kitchen floor. Well, alrighty then. Sorry I asked. Except that the next sound you hear in our little video is both Mama and Daddy bursting out laughing because it suddenly became abundantly clear that she had heard Mama’s voice reminding the two Littles that there is always something to do, so it would be a good idea never to tell this Mama that you are BORED.
This summer, now that both of our youngest girls are teens, it is still a challenge to keep them busy but not TOO busy. It is a balancing act, teaching them a strong work ethic while allowing time for fun and family activities, and making sure there is time just to “be bored” – but not “lazy.” I guess mamas have to be rather intentional to juggle all of those requirements!
Having been a mama for a pretty long time, I’ve seen many changes in childhood activity from “back in the day” when I was a kid, and then my own older kids (who now have kids of their own), to our teenagers now. Of course, there is the technology aspect that has been debated and discussed more than any of us need to hear any more. At least in my opinion. We all know that it is not good for anyone to spend a huge percentage of their waking hours looking at a screen (she writes as she is looking at a screen!). But online interaction is a necessary part of our lives these days for work as well as entertainment and general communication.
We need to be reminded, however, that there are LOTS of other things in life that are important, and perhaps our kids need to learn the “blessings of boredom.” Because when you are “bored” is a time for a bit of introspection, discovery, creativity, and growth. When we over-schedule our kids’ lives it not only makes Mama exhausted, but it leaves our kids believing that life is all about “being entertained.” There is then an expectation that parents’ primary task in child-raising is to provide hourly adventures, daily distractions, and weekly experiences that will keep them “happy.”
Unfortunately, in the real world, that is not how life will treat them. Living in the real world is actually one of our first responsibilities as parents (the first being to keep them alive, then fed and clothed, educated, and protected from REAL danger all around them). When I was a kid, I’m sure it never occurred to my parents to wonder whether or not I was “happy.” Didn’t kill me, and in fact, I learned from an early age that I am not the center of the universe. There are other people all around me who also need to be acknowledged and respected – everything going on in the world is not about me, and actually, what other people are doing is just as important as what I am doing.
I’m also pretty sure that it never occurred to my parents to find ways to “entertain” me. Playing in the woods behind our house, building a “fort” out of old logs, boards, and stumps and filling it up with old tins and pans that had been discarded from our kitchen kept me “entertained” for long summer days for many summers of my childhood. Finding an old piece of board in the back of the garage with peeling paint and cobwebs made a perfect kitchen shelf in my little “fort” for all those treasures Mom tossed out. I learned problem-solving skills when that blasted piece of board wouldn’t fit between the branches of the trees on the “kitchen” side of my “fort” so I had to completely rearrange my WHOLE forest home just to accommodate one shelf. Sounds kind of like real life to me on some days.
There is so much research available on this topic that I could write twenty blog posts about it, but I was just thinking about this dilemma yesterday as my girls were grumbling about helping me dust the family room and rearrange the furniture (see I learned at a very young age how therapeutic it is to rearrange your little corner of the universe!) – “Well, what do you WANT to do,” I asked as we shoved the couch out from the wall so they could vacuum up the dust bunnies and popcorn kernels that had been dropped there the other night. “I don’t know,” was the eternal answer. Really?!? Then this works! “Grab the vacuum sweeper and the dust cloth and get busy!” I announced.
Just remember: never say BORING in this family or there will definitely be a boredom-buster immediately available from this Mama. And when you aren’t learning to respect your home and family, take care of your possessions and help your family take care of all that God has blessed us with, THEN you can have the “blessing of boredom” to read a book, or take a walk, or lay in the grass and stare at the clouds and wonder about who you are and Who God is, and discover that there is way more to life than being entertained or dodging the realities of the world which include such things as chores.
Come on along and join the rest of us in the real world – and as parents we would be giving our children a priceless gift by teaching them how to function in that real world where no one is going to care if they are happy and there is certainly not going to be free entertainment. That’s not the way God made us; work is a gift and we need to teach our children to respect that part of life. And when there is down time, don’t feel obligated to fill it with too many obligations. Relax and enjoy the “blessings of boredom.”
While you are taking a break and having a bit of downtime in your day, why not join us for the Favorite Things Blog Hop and Linky Party – it’s a great way to make new friends and learn new stuff. Hope to catch up with you at the party!
The party is on at the Favorite Things Blog Hop and Linky Party – come on and join the fun!
Please join us this week for the Favorite Things Blog Hop!
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