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?

Share the Post:

0 Responses

  1. Thank you for this post! It led to hours of fun snacking through Luci Swindoll's books looking for a piece she wrote reflecting on her childhood years of boredom and sharing her mother's constant advice to make something with her hands.
    My mom went back to work when I was 7 so summers were spent with much “boredom” in which to read and dream, play games with a sister, and make stuff sprinkled with house or yard work.
    These days, I don't always recognize boredom for what it is, but I find that if I engage in some creative activity – cooking, crafting, even just taking the time to look about with interest, I come away content.
    I'm going now to make something with my hands!

  2. yes – wonderful way to make her find her own creative outlet; I grew up with no cable, no internet (before the time); rode my bike all over, played with my plastic horses, etc. Boredom is a blessing.