Monday, June 4, 2012

Glorious Boredom

Summer vacation starts in just a few short days. As you saw in my post last week, I've been in an organizing frenzy. I think I'm trying to get a hold on my sanity before the kids are home. All day. Every day. Including the days when I'm packing for our vacations, which as you saw in my other post last week are a lot of work. I have a plan for how we'll all get by this summer, which I may share tomorrow. Or I may wait to see how well it works.

I want to let you in on a little secret that I don't think my kids know: I think it's good for them to be bored. When they come to me with wails of "I'm bored! I have nothing to do!" I don't panic, I secretly rejoice. And then I offer to find them something to do, which of course they decline because they know it will involve work on their part.

The thing is, I think it is in boredom that creativity is birthed. Boredom necessitates growth. It drives kids to think and do new things. Dissatisfaction dissolves as simple joys are rediscovered.

If we fill boredom with constant outings and mom-directed activities and that brain drain called TV, it never achieves its purpose of creative discovery. But if we let it fester for a few minutes, or even a few days, it's amazing what happens. New games are created.
(okay, this was maybe not my favorite game, and that's obviously an old picture, but I couldn't resist including it.)

Old toys are rediscovered.

Siblings become friends.
 Children curl up in corners with good books. 

Culinary masterpieces emerge from the kitchen.

Stories are imagined.
 Artistic masterpieces appear on bedroom walls as if by magic.

Scientific experiments are unveiled.

Tadpoles are captured and observed.
Entire cities are built (yes, this picture is a few years old too).

So as you start this summer, go ahead and make your bucket list. Hit the waterparks and museums and mini golf courses. Take advantage of the wonderful treasure that is summer with kids. But on your days home, don't be afraid of a little boredom. Don't view it as a problem to be fixed or feel guilty if you haven't kept your kids happy and busy every single second. Don't pressure yourself to maximize every opportunity for activity or feel like a failure if days go by in which you accomplish nothing. Embrace the boredom, let it simmer for a little while, and then see what wonderful discoveries your kids make. And if you can find time for a little of your own boredom, that's even better!


  1. This is a fantastic post! Thanks for confirming what I have long believed to be true.

  2. Yes, I agree. The other night my kids wanted to watch a TV show on netflix, and I felt God telling me wait. Within half an hour Seth was busy designing and creating a Lord of the Rings board game (dare I say Bored Game?) That's a good post, NERT. MB