Way back when I was kid, right after fire was discovered and directly before the invention of the wheel, there was phrase that millions of Moms heard on Saturday afternoon.
Context is important here. Saturday mornings were a buffet of cartoons and live action amazement that every kid planned his week looking forward to seeing. And then the dread of what was coming in the afternoon started to set in around noon, knowing what was ahead. There was a choice quickly coming between the roller derby (woman on skates knocking into each other) and watching bowling (yawn) and on occasion, the rollercoaster fun of...golf.
It was a nightmare for kids everywhere.
It was also a gift.
Back to the question that so many moms faced (and continue to hear)...for most this common phrase was made as if one was dying and was met with a plethora of ideas. Some basic; read a book, call a friend or (yuck) do a chore. Other times something more creative; make a fort, draw a creative picture or even better have a silly string or nerf gun fight in the basement (feel free to google this last one).
Boredom has certainly not disappeared, but in certain ways it has been replaced with a form of overstimulation rather than a lack of something to do. Boredom has landed more around the framework of doing something for an extended period of time like gaming or social media vs. lack of activity.
Boredom can lead to some great things...
It can get us out of our own selfish thinking and find ways to give to the people in our lives.
If focused on the right things, boredom fosters a healthy sense of self. When a child (or adult) learns how to push through boredom, it cultivates resilience and awareness of the gifts that each of us possess. It also helps us to recognize what we enjoy doing and don’t like doing.
It directly impacts problem solving. When someone learns to not be reliant on outside activity, boredom starts to be viewed as an opportunity rather than a horrible emotional state that creates a sense of powerlessness.
I’m not even going to give you any ideas on what you should do when you are bored, other than I would encourage all of us to brainstorm NEW ways of being creative and giving to others to generate a new phrase in our lives:
“This is awesome! I’m bored...now I KNOW there are great things ahead!”
“There are no uninteresting things only uninterested people” GK Chesterson