I try not to flinch every time someone says they are ‘bored of’ something.
Half my brain screams ‘Bored with: it’s tired of; bored with!’ while the other half calmly reasons that language evolves. If young people unanimously decide to go with bored of, who am I to swim against the linguistic tide in my old-fashioned neck-to-knees swimsuit and flowered bathing cap?
And so I gamely dog-paddle on, chin up, through a rising tide of complaints, kids bored of this, bored of that, and try to focus on the real issue…
And that is the belief that being bored is somehow a bad thing.Something to be avoided at all costs. Or fended off with scheduled activities or screen time courtesy of the ubiquitous array of electronic boredom busters.
Lordy me, when did boredom become such a threat? Once upon a time, anyone with the temerity (or lack of imagination) to be bored was either given a job to do or told to make their own fun.
Nowadays, someone passes them an iPad. Or turns on the telly.
No-one tells kids the truth. That boredom is their friend. It’s where creativity is sparked, ideas are born. It’s that space in our busy lives where we can take the time to amble aimlessly, discover hidden worlds, dream up a story, paint a picture, write a song, build a better mouse trap.
The mind is a marvelous thing. Give it some space to meander and it will surprise you. I know this because all my stories have been daydreamed into existence. I once spent three entire months thinking about a kid called Henry Hoey Hobson before I wrote the first word of his story. Other stories have simmered on the back hotplate of my mind, sometimes for years, till a lull in the busy-busy of life created space for it to move to the front burner.
So don’t fill let your kids fill their days with busy-busy. Even if you’re a mad scheduler and can’t help yourself, schedule some time out for them. Every day. No activities. No screens. No homework.
Let them be bored. Allow them to daydream. And watch their creativity flow.