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Monday, June 16, 2014

I'm bored...NOT!

My daughter shared this post on Facebook about the advantages of letting kids get bored. I think we will all agree (and have many times by 'liking' all those posts with the same theme) that kids today are spoiled. I'm not talking about the hasn't-this-bratty-child-ever-been-disciplined kind of spoiled, but the over-indulged, have-everything, be-chauffeured-everywhere, sit-and-be-entertained kind of spoiled.Their lives are so structured that they have no idea what to do when the square on the calendar is blank. Or maybe it's because the parent has no idea what to do when the kids ask, "What is there to do?"

I used to boat and spent almost every weekend in the summer on the water. The kids learned really fast not to say those forbidden words--I'm bored. There were things to do! Scrub the hull. Gather firewood. Suddenly, lazying on an air mattress sounded like a good deal. And it always ended in everyone trying to flip the air mattress and lots of screams and laughter.

As a kid, I never played soccer or softball, or took dance lessons, etc. (Okay--once a week piano lessons for a few years, but I rode my bike across town to get there!) Never once did any of my brothers or I say, "I'm bored. What can I do?"

The un-mowed grass of an abandoned field provided us with rivers to swim, out-maneuvering the wild river creatures that stalked us, or jungles to discover while scouting for carnivores. We galloped around on our broomstick horses while shooting each other with our fingers. We died and fell over. We really did climb trees! With our friends, we created clubs that had secret passwords. We also created some crazy games to play with rocks and jump ropes. We learned to whistle loudly (a skill I still possess) with a wide blade of grass. We made our own musical instruments out of trash and trash cans. We built palaces from cardboard. We lay down on our backs in the grass and stared at the sun--wondering if it really would make us blind! We watched the animals form and disappear in the clouds. We ate wild berries and apples that weren't ripe. We once paid a boy twenty-five cents to eat a bug. We camped out under the stars and awoke cold and damp with dew. We never thought about asking Mom what to do...

When my grandgirls visit, they quickly get super bored. The boredom manifests itself in arguments over Legos and who gets to cuddle the dog. And when they get bored enough...

They take a walk in the woods with the goats. They go catch things like tree frogs and fireflies. They pick wild flowers to bring to Nana. They stomp in the muddy creek, forgetting they have on their Sunday pants. They make memories that at least I will treasure long after I've forgotten what they did on the soccer field.

Like this one: