Bored Boy

On the Virtue of Boredom

Bored Boy
Bored Boy by Unsplash

Dear Son,

One of the things that few people appreciate today is boredom.  In fact people are terrified of being bored, and terrified of letting their children be bored, too.  As a culture, we have filled our lives with endless demands and busy-work to keep us safe from the dread yawn of boredom.  This is especially true of how we handle children.  Many parents fill their childrens’ lives up to the brim with activities and classes, scouts, dance, karate, hockey, soccer, homework club, and an endless array or parties and playdates.

I suspect parents are not just worried about their kids being bored, but are using their kids’ clubs and games as away to avoid being bored themselves.  That is why they are willing to eat up every evening and the last of their free time with kid’s activities because they are afraid that if they just stayed home they’d go crazy.

Not me.  I don’t need something to do to avoid boredom.  And I am perfectly happy to let you get bored. Because a little boredom, especially for children, is a good thing!

When a person who is used to being entertained is bored, then end up sulking and feeling sorry for themselves.  When a person who is used to being bored once in awhile gets bored, they learn to go and entertain themselves.  They find creative ways to spend their time so that it counts.

When a creative person encounters boredom, they:

  • Draw
  • Start a craft
  • Write a story or a letter
  • Find a book or magazine to read
  • Explore
  • Look for something new to do
  • Listen to music (or compose it!)
  • Find new things to do with old toys
  • Take apart machines to see how they work
  • Invent new machines

Boredom is you mind’s way of getting ready to be creative.  If I don’t distract you with screens, playdates, and too many classes, you will learn to be creative.  And you will learn also, how not to sulk and feel sorry for yourself.

Boredom is the father of Serendipity:  when you are looking for something new to do, that is when you have the best chance at discovering new interests, new skills, new talents, and new strengths that you never knew you had.  Boredom will help you discover yourself.

So as a loving father, I will let you get bored.  I will give you a lot of unstructured time.  And I will gently guide you to learn how to make sure you don’t stay bored for long.

I’m looking forward to the explosions!


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