My daughter made a comment last night that is still floating around in my brain this morning. She said that many of the parents she encounters seem afraid that their children will become bored. Many children we work with each day are plugged into or seated in front of some electronic device every leisure hour, if they aren’t attending a lesson or a sporting event. “Whatever happened to playing 'pretend' or reading or drawing?” she wanted to know. “And why is boredom so bad?”
Just to be very clear about our discussion this morning I consulted the dictionary:
Bore- 1. To weary by dullness, tedious repetition, unwelcome attentions, etc.: The long speech bored me. 2. a dull, tiresome, or uncongenial person. 3. a cause of ennui or petty annoyance: repetitious tasks that are a bore to do.
Oh, my. Repetitious tasks? Like home work? Like chores? Like laundry, cooking, cleaning? Like driving, working, paying bills? Like life? Yes, doing repetitious things might lead our children to become tiresome, uncongenial people, or maybe just adults.
I probably can’t repeat to you what my father would have said if I had told him I was “bored” with farm work, or bored with school, or bored with my daily house chores. He often placed us at the beginning of a mile-long row of the season’s current crop of something and said, “When you get to the end we’ll take a break.” Not “quit”, not “go home”, but “take a break”. Believe me, nothing is more repetitious than cutting grapes or picking cotton all day. Work didn’t turn me into a tiresome person; it just made me strong and creative. I spent my time in the fields thinking of wonderful stories and imagining what I would do when I grew up. I also played “what would you do with a million dollars?” with my brother.
I’m not saying that children need to work as much as we did. But I don’t think a few chores or homework will hurt them.
I don’t think riding in the car from school to home without a movie will cause distress.
I don’t think singing without electronics will make them feel underprivileged.
I don’t think a little unplanned, unscheduled time is bad.
I don’t think a little boredom will hurt them.