Friday, February 10, 2012

If You're Bored, You're Boring

I heard my Mom say that to someone once (not to me, of course, as I'm the life of the party).  At the time, I thought to myself, "Whoa.  Mom.  That was cold."   Now, though, I think I've come to understand what she meant (or at least I hope so, because if this isn't the explanation, then, wow, Mom, ouch).  I'll explain.

Have you ever lived with kids?  How about five kids, going from say, 6ish, down to about a year and a half old?  I do, every day (for reals).  We live in a not so large apartment, with no outdoor space save a "courtyard" that is really just a walkway with a gate.  My kids are cooped up inside for most of the Winter.  Despite this, I rarely hear the words, "I'm bored," coming out of their mouths unless they're being forced to clean up the mess they've made of their room that day.  Don't get me wrong, they aren't angels (far from it some days) but they aren't bored.  They always manage to find something to do with themselves (or with my yarn or their father's paint or anything else they shouldn't be playing with, you get the idea) or by themselves, which is far more to the point. Whether it's building "epic" Geotrax loops that span the room and incorporate the Batcave and the Little People doll house or using their bunk beds as their own mini-apartment building or having a no-holds-barred  light saber battle of (again) "epic" proportions (perhaps I need to broaden their vocabulary?), they are constantly doing something, anything.  They color, all the time.  They look at books (not quite reading them just yet), even the littlest one.  When all else fails they run in circles in the living room.  They aren't bored because they aren't boring, that is, they can entertain themselves with what's at hand, and I think this can be said of most kids.  Their little minds are constantly seeing what can be done, the possibilities for fun and activity.  It's impossible to be boring when you are constantly looking for fun, and you can't be bored when you are constantly finding it.

Think about it.  Have you ever really been bored?  Really?  And don't think for a moment that spending hours every night watching TV means you were bored.  It may just mean that you, like myself, enjoy watching TV, which would be the opposite being bored for either of us.  In a doctors waiting room, do you stare blankly at the wall ahead?  Or do you at least pick up a magazine, even one you would normally never think to read?  I personally prefer reading the pamphlets on random conditions I will never suffer (such as prostate cancer and the like), but to each his own.  Most of us aren't boring.  Boring people can't keep themselves entertained so why should one expect them to keep others so?

The ability to entertain oneself is one of the best talents one can have, and it's one I hope my kids manage to not lose as they grow up.  I've met one or two boring adults in my life.  Trust me, it's not a pretty site, watching someone twiddle their thumbs because they are clueless as to what to do without someone else laying it out for them.  Children have an inherent ability to be awesome, and part of that is knowing how to keep occupied and have fun.  (On a side note, I do think we are in danger of having children and then adults who are boring, very soon, if we don't stop over-scheduling every moment this generations lives, but that's a topic for another post.)  I don't know when that magic age is when some of us lose it, but I hope to hell my kids never do.  I don't think I ever did.  I could not deal with days full of constant what-can-i-do-nows, either from myself or from the kiddies.   After all, Mommy isn't looking to be occupied.  She has plenty of stuff to do, books to read, yarn to use children.


  1. I like the strikethrough in the last sentence. See, I do read all the way through (unlike you with my blog)...

    1. I would argue that just because someone doesn't pick up a magazine in waiting room doesn't mean they aren't doing anything. Sometimes I like to take a break from work. Magazines=work, so people watching or observing the surroundings to find the free samples area, or dreaming about something in the back of my mind are the things I'm more interested in doing in that 5-15 minutes.

    2. Genny, good point! I totally agree and realize that I wasn't clear enough in my post. What I meant is that sitting there doing nothing not b/c it is a choice for free/downtime mentally, or daydreaming even, is not the same as doing nothing b/c one's internal life is not stimulating. There is a difference, I agree. I have spent time myself focusing my attention inward, contemplating the readings at Mass or whatever recent books I've picked up.