Why Are We So Afraid of Boredom?

After school today, my youngest begs for a play date. I tell her that’s not in the plan. She wants to watch TV. I tell her that’s not in the plan.

“What am I supposed to do?” Once again, I remember those words of a great counselor who told me one of the greatest gifts to give a child is the gift of boredom.

(Boredom appears in this blog as a genuine way to begin living with flair.)

But I almost can’t do it. It’s too hard watching her wandering about, moping. I almost call her friends, turn on a video, or orchestrate some elaborate craft. I almost begin the grand distraction of busy, busy, busy and the frenzy of every-moment-occupied.

“What are we supposed to be doing?” she asks helplessly.

“Well, I’m reading this book. I’m not sure what you’re doing.”

She wanders. She begs.

Finally–it takes a full 7 minutes–she settles into her own imagination. I’m not sure what’s going on in there, but it involves paints and graphing.

It was hard. I did it. I waited and gave the gift of boredom.

Did someone give you the gift of boredom when you were growing up?