Boredom is underrated
“I’m bored.” Uttered by a child, those two words can send adults – parents or not – within earshot immediately into a defensive frenzy:With all this child has, how could he/she possibly be bored? Does this child have no imagination whatsoever? That means I must be boring!Solutions to such a statement often come fast and furious, and sound alarmingly like what the adults uttering them probably heard when they were growing up:When I was your age, I didn’t have time to be bored. Well, go read a book. That list of chores you have should alleviate that feeling. I’d love to have a feeling of being bored. Not the I’m-stuck-in-this-meeting-and-can’t-escape-for-another-hour bored, but the I’ve-run-out-of-things-to-do bored. Can you imagine? Being absolutely devoid of any ideas for activating your brain or your body into any type of activity, however slight? Wow. In adulthood, being bored, the I-can’t-think-of-anything-to-do bored, is pretty much non-existent, at least in our culture. From the moment the alarm sounds in the morning, to the moment the night table light clicks off, people are going, planning, scheming, doing, filling their brains and their lives with all the stuff they should be doing, will do, are doing and plan to do sometime in the future. What a wonderful feeling it would be to have a whole bunch of empty air between the ears once in awhile – minus having a lobotomy, of course. In adulthood, some people work hard to attain that sort of void, if only for awhile. Meditation is all about that. Getting away on a horse, your feet, a boat is another. Clearing out the old noggin. Ahhhh.But when kids feel it, eeeek, immediately they want to fill it up. “I’m bored” is the rallying cry. Fill up this hole I’m literally boring into my brain and body. Boring.You can hardly blame them. With techno gadgetry coming at them at every angle, kids are being innundated with constant stimuli, whether in the form of TV and computer games, or busy schedules of running here and running there. There’s a new toy to buy, a new ride to ride. There’s always something newer, faster, “better.” So next time we hear a kid say, “I’m bored,” maybe we should stop our tendency to fill the gap, and just let them feel that boredom. Maybe they’ll come up with something to do on their own. . . or maybe they’ll just lay in the grass and enjoy doing nothing at all. And they can always change places with us. I bet a lot of us would be happy to be bored for an afternoon. Carrie Click is the editor and general manager of The Citizen Telegram in Rifle, and the western Garfield County bureau editor for the Post Independent. She’s working on being bored, but it’s not easy. You can reach Carrie at 625-3245, ext. 101, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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