During much of the year, most of us are racing through life, clutching our never-ending to-do lists. So when we are faced with down time, especially during our vacations, we feel antsy and bored. We look for something productive to do. We feel the need to get busy. And we make sure our kids are busy too; heaven forbid they complain they’re bored.
What do you do when you hear your kids chant the dreaded “I’m bored”? If you are like most parents, you feel obligated to entertain them so that boredom is immediately alleviated.
But have you ever considered that it’s okay to be bored? That it’s even desirable – a beautiful luxury?
I’ll be the first to admit that doing nothing is not an easy thing to do – especially for high-achievers who value accomplishment (can you relate?). But with a new perspective and a little practice, it can be done.
What I considered boredom was actually the gateway to peace. Until I could learn to be “bored,” I’d never get to the calm on the other side.
– Cheryl Richardson
Think back to when you were a kid – before you got that first summer job. No planned activities, no rushing here or there, just the endless days of summer to simply play, hang out, and daydream. No stress, no sense of overwhelm - just calm. Could you give that gift to your kids? Could you give it to yourself?
If you are willing to allow yourself and your kids to experience a little boredom, do nothing until the initial feeling of restlessness passes, you just may find the peace-of-mind you’ve been searching for.
There’s only a few weeks left before the kids go back to school and summer becomes a distant memory. Before it’s over, I invite you to resist filling every moment of the day (for both you and your children) and enjoy some unstructured time. Resist the urge to rescue your kids (and yourself) from boredom. This exercise may even inspire you to reduce the number of activities you enroll the kids in (and the commitments you take on) during the school year. Just give it a try and let me know how it goes.