I see boredom as a gift. I see it as a wonderful opportunity to teach children many valuable life skills.
Boredom is the time spent between not knowing what to do and coming up with an idea for something to do. It is ‘seemingly’ having nothing to do.
Unfortunately, today it is generally seen as a more of a negative thing. But is it?
Why do I see it as a gift?
It is a gift because boredom invariably sparks creativity, especially in children. Without the time or space to incubate their thoughts and the opportunity to be bored, children are robbed of a golden opportunity to foster creativity. Boredom sows the seeds for this.
Children today are so scheduled, their time filled with prescribed activities and endless sources of entertainment that they rarely have the time to simply be. The minute they are in situations with nothing to do, they are at a loss for what to do.
On the odd occasion I remember wailing to my Mom:
“I’m b-o-r-e-d. There’s n-o-t-h-i-n-g to do. There’s no-one to play with.”
I can’t think of a time where she dropped what she was doing simply to entertain me in my boredom. She usually just said:
“I’m sure that you will find something to do.”
And invariably, I did. And it was inevitably something totally creative and off the wall that ended up being the most fun ever!
When my kids tell me they are bored, sure, I’m often tempted to rescue them, end the whining and give them some ideas for things to do but I stop myself.
How would they ever learn to deal with boredom if I am always there with the next idea? This would squash their ability to get creative.
What do I do? I let them be bored and simply say:
“It’s okay to be bored. There’s nothing wrong with it. Stay with it, I know you, you will soon come up with something fun to do.”
And just like I did, they invariably do and it is inevitably something totally creative and off the wall that ends up being the most fun ever!
Apparently creativity is ranked as one of the most important skills in order to succeed today. Companies hire people based on their ability to be creative and think outside the box.
Children are naturally curious and creative. They have imaginations second to none. They will think outside the box and make a game of anything provided they are given the opportunity to do so. Giving them this opportunity is such a gift and that is why I see boredom through this lens.
As a parent, I do not want to rob my children of the very thing I believe they need to grow and nurture within themselves: creativity. Nor do I want to rob them of the opportunity to be successful.
What do you do when your kids tell you they are bored?
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