I am rarely bored. My mind, alas, swirls a mile a minute from the time I am awake to the time the melatonin kicks in at night. I am, for better or worse, connected for all of my waking hours. However, as a child, I was not connected. We had cable, but were one of the last families to get nintendo. I played Oregon Trail and Carmen San Diego on the big IBM computer with the floppy disk, but not all day.
I had the chance to spend hours outside in the creek behind our house or at a friend’s house. In my teen years, we would walk around downtown Annapolis without a cell phone or hang out at the beach in my neighborhood without wifi. (Wifi didn’t exist.) We had the chance to be bored. I didn’t go to a lot of summer camps so after swim team each day, I would have to make my own fun.
In our 24/7 connected world, our kids don’t know how to be bored very well. It can be scary for them to be left to their own without the security of electronics or someone telling them how to make their fun. We know they need the boredom to be creative. Not just from common sense, but most recently from this study published by the World Economic Forum. So what do we do when a connected kid says, I’m bored? We should treat it as a gift. We should say something like, “wow, that’s so great that you don’t have something specific to do, imagine all the things you could do.” And then, walk away. Allow kids to sit with their own boredom and figure it out.
I love this list that I’ve seen on many a blog. It doesn’t have to just mean in the summer. Boredom can strike us at any time–if we have the control to challenge ourselves and embrace, oh the things we could think, do, create, and learn. Time to get bored, friends…