Boredom Isn't What You Think it is
Teaching our children the value of quiet - Redefining Boredom Part 1
I can’t count the number of times that my wife, Melissa, and I have been so caught up in our hectic lives that we have needed to take a step back and ask each other whether what we have involved ourselves and our children in is actually benefitting our family or simply overwhelming us.
So many of us live lives worried about what our kids might “miss out” on and sign them up for everything – VBS, Youth groups, sports teams, music lessons and more. We, as parents, quickly turn into “taxi drivers” and chauffeurs without time to breathe or think until our kids are in bed. The problem with this is that by keeping a pace of life that is that busy, we risk stealing what’s most important for our children from them.
Our children are often missing out on two of the things that they need most (I will only address one in this article though):
When I was a child, I remember feeling bored and wondering if there was something wrong if I felt this way, but now I actually miss and envy those times when things are slow enough for me to rest my mind and have nothing to do or think about. It leaves space for me to get to know myself and to allow God to speak to me. God’s presence is so often found in the silence, and we don’t allow ourselves enough of that.
We need to be teaching and modeling this to our kids so that they appreciate the quiet and the slow moments of life. I have actually started telling my kids how excited I am when they come to me saying that they are “bored.” Boredom indicates opportunity, opportunity to be creative, to rest our minds or better yet, to spend time with God.
Moments of boredom for me are few and far between and I would actually suggest that it isn’t boredom at all, but a moment in my day where I have enough space and silence to notice the world around me. The irony is that I actually have to re-train myself to be okay in those moments. I have to intentionally avoid my phone or leave the TV off in an attempt to sit with my thoughts, and create space for the many benefits of stillness. This is especially beneficial for our children. We really need to both model and implement times throughout the day where we “unplug” from any device, to embrace “boredom” to foster creative development as well as the much needed space to process the day and deal with things that need to be addressed rather than be distracted. Kids do not need to be constantly stimulated, instead they need space to freely play, spend time in relationship, and contemplate life…something that our culture craves and so we need to cultivate and protect it!
Without that space, our children find themselves in constant states of anxiety and tension. We need to teach them how to decompress. Lets teach them to embrace their boredom as a chance to decompress, quiet the soul and take stock of who they are and who they are in Christ.