Saturday, July 14, 2012

Let Them Be Bored

Stuvac. A study vacation. That’s what I’ve been on. Happy to sleep in most mornings. Reading for uni and working on assignments in the gaps of each day - the gaps are between appointments for children’s health. And getting there! After beginning the holiday, and the trimester, feeling like it was all impossible, I’m travelling ok. I get it. I know what to do and I’m doing it.

In the meantime, the children. They’ve spent lots of days in their pyjamas and watched lots of tv. We’d had slow days, quiet days, hanging out at home days.

‘Let them be bored’, I say. I’m a fan of children being bored, for lots of reasons.  

Famous people were bored when they were children. Not just bored but forced into boredom by illness. Joni Mitchell and Neil Young suffered polio when they were children. This meant a long time lying in bed. For Joni, she said it forged in her the determination to be an artist. It’s when she started singing. Tom Jones was diagnosed with tuberculosis at age 12. He spent two years recovering, listening to the radio and drawing. Patti Smith had a childhood full of illness: bronchitis, tuberculosis, scarlet fever, three different kinds of measles. That’s a lot of time in bed, doing, not much. Now, I’m not suggesting that being sick has a major upside. I’m just saying that boredom turns people on to creative solutions.

Boredom doesn’t disappear when you grow up, so you’d better get used to it.

The more you put into something, the more you get out of it. If you are bored, you need to find a way to engage more with what you’re doing. Whether it’s cooking. cleaning, studying, work or relationships. And that’s about mental discipline, making meaningful connections and creativity. The sooner children learn that the better.

As my Masters supervisor used to say to me, and I say to my children, after boredom comes discovery. Boredom is part of the process, and gives you a kick up the bum to do something really interesting.

So, during the holidays the children have been reading, playing in the backyard, playing board games and card games, singing and dancing. They’ve been having a fine holiday while their mother studies.


sister outlaws said...

I agree with kids occupying themselves and being bored sometimes. Parents run around putting their kids into structured activities and going to lengths to keep them "entertained" and it's so indulgent and unrealistic. It's good for kids to learn patience and to use their imagination to keep themselves entertained. If one of my kids say they are bored I tell them that is what their sibling is for.

Cath @ chunkychooky said...

Could not agree more!!