So many parents these days are so scared of letting their children get bored.
We think that if we don't fill their days with endless activity, they won't make progress or expand or grow. We fear they will be missing out on something or that we haven't given them or done for them enough, that maybe they will even fall behind.
I can relate. When I was young, I remember the feeling of having to do something "productive" or "helpful" with my days. I learned at a pretty early age to hate the idea of getting bored. It was something undesirable and to be avoided.
But in retrospect, I honestly can't remember any time in my childhood when I was truly bored. Can you?
Yes, there was time that felt like it stretched for days and there was sometimes impatience...but boredom???
I truly can't remember more than a moment of it.
Instead, I remember that following a moment of boredom I would find myself sinking into a dream world of ongoing stories that grew and bloomed in my head, like my own personal streaming podcast, that would then upon returning to my art supplies, transform into new worlds where my dolls would play...and that probably led to my current admiration of story as a tool, art form, and vital life blood for change and understanding the other.
It was a moment of boredom that lent me the opportunity to explore the natural world and sink into the thrill that comes only from allowing yourself the time it takes to properly explore the incredibly intricate inner workings of the leaf or ant hill or root system...and that probably led to my attachment to nature in the deepest parts of me, and the environmental and political activism I am inspired to fight for.
And boredom was probably the ignition of my first songs. I remember long (feeling) car rides easily filling up my ears with entire, new soundtracks coming to life that only I could hear, and that later on when I was a bit older, translated to many hours on the piano with the tape recorder...which has led to hundreds of songs that have become my own personal diary and entry point into the expression that is vital to the deepest parts of my knowing.
From this perspective, can you imagine what would have happened if I had NOT been allowed to be bored?
It seems that boredom, in fact, was VITAL to my creativity.
🌈 And I bet it also was for you!
Take a moment and think back to your childhood:
What filled your hours and days? How did you choose to explore? And in what moments did new inspiration arise?
How did those moments of boredom in your childhood shape who you are and the type of person you have become? Helped support your talents and contributions to this world?
🌟 And now imagine what it can do for your child.🌟
Nowadays in my work as a play enabler, I have come to realize more and more just how crucial boredom is to our learning, growth, development, and coming into our own as the artists, naturalists, engineers, musicians, writers we are meant to become.
Much of creativity is born from those moments when we twiddle our thumbs and tap our feet and have nothing to do... but to think up something new. So we do! We build. We tinker. We orchestrate. We recreate. We inspire!
Think about it: boredom is something that is TAUGHT. By society, by our peers, by the messages we receive.
But it is boredom that sometimes is the exactly perfect (and often missing) ingredient to the recipe of wonder.
So today, make a commitment to allow your children the TIME to be bored. Every day for at least an hour.
Allow them to face space and quiet and the expanse of boredom that is what leads to the complete freedom of thinking up some of our greatest insights and ideas!
Don't be afraid of giving this to them. Don't let FOMO get in the way. Let's go back to our roots instead. And let them discover who they came on this earth to be: SLOWLY.
Allow your children the time and space to be bored and see what happens!