Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The law of boredom

When I was younger, my goal was to be invisible. I wanted to read my books and be left in peace. Which come to think of it, is basically, my goal in life now. My younger self was most content being left alone with a comfy chair and a copy of Sweet Valley High.  I also grew up in a pack of siblings that were loud and active. They went outside and ran around the neighborhood. Playing games of tag and making army fortresses in the neighbors large overgrown shrubs. The only time I joined them was when my book was taken away and I was told to go outside and play. This was seen by me as some kind of cruel torture inflicted by my parents. 

As a parent now, I totally get what my parents were doing. But as a child, I was mortified. Interact with the world outside of my books? Be forced to run and get dirty? I could potentially fall down and become injured! What were my parents thinking? Probably something similar to what I think when I tell my kids to go outside and play. I just need some gosh darn peace and quiet and I want bed time to go smoothly. So that means I need the kids to be exhausted as possible. Every ounce of energy must be used up to ensure the kids go to sleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow. Or something like that. 

There I was, an introvert forced to go interact with the neighborhood kids. Sure, I had my siblings, but they were more adept at the games the kids played. I found out though that I wasn't the only kid on the block who was intimidated by the pack of kids. I found some kindred spirits who preferred to sit on the porch and brew up spells made of weeds and wild flowers. We spun our tales of imagination and fantasy. It was like reading a book I had written. 

When the school breaks hit and you can't read Dr Seuss one more time or listen to the opening intro to your kids favorite song, let them be bored. Send them outside or to the toy room alone. Then sneak up to the door and just watch the imagination unfurl. Our kids are amazingly creative when we give them the opportunity. The trick is to let go of our need to micromanage. 


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