Now that we live in the country there is room for the children to run and explore. There are woods by the house, a pasture out back, and hiking trails and an old homestead across the road.
The first time I let the children out to play, they spent 2 1/2 hours out there before I finally rang the bell by the house to call them in.
As I watched the children work and play endlessly and tirelessly, I began to consider something our society seems to be lacking.
While I do not believe children should be left to themselves (Prov. 29:15), I do believe they should not need to be entertained by others (including such “others” as T.V., video games, etc).
Always feeling like the need to be entertained leads to UNcreative boredom; whereas, creative boredom happens when children have the ability to turn their boredom into something useful and productive.
However, we cannot expect them to come up with useful and productive things to do if we consistently feed their boredom with mindlessness.
“I’m bored.” – “Go watch a movie.”
“I’m bored.” – “Go play your video game.”
“I’m bored.” – “Go away.”
If you have a child who constantly says he’s bored or a child who has come to believe the only way to cure boredom is with flashy entertainment, then it will take a bit more help on your part to get them to a place where they become creative with their boredom.
As a parent, you must:
- Provide the tools
- Provide the time
- Provide the support
Provide the tools
Not everyone can provide an old chicken coop to work on, but that’s what we had and when they asked if they could clean it out, we gave our blessings and sent the chicken coop crew on their way. Two days later it was clean enough for chickens…and an air soft bunker. ;)
Give your children resources likes a hammer and nails, a wagon and buckets. If they show an interest in some project, don’t ignore that interest, feed it!
If you don’t help foster creativity and productivity, you can guarantee they will eventually quit trying and go back to uncreative boredom – it’s easier. (There are the rare exceptions who just keep pushing the limits despite the lack of help from parents.)
Provide the time
Our society is burning the candle at both ends…including the children. Few children have time to ever get to the place where they are bored enough to be creative. Their lives are filled to the brim with activities.
Sometimes it is OUR fault.
We don’t want them to miss out on this activity or this sport or this gathering. Yet, children need time. They need to know how to slow down…to be observant.
Give your children time.
Provide the support
When our oldest daughter showed a true interest in photography, we looked for ways to support her. It was a useful way to spend her time. The results are that as an 11 year old, she provides nearly all the photos for Raising Arrows. If we hadn’t chosen to support her in this interest even though she was young, we would have missed this great talent and tremendous blessing from the Lord.
If you do nothing else for your children, at the very least show genuine interest and support in their creativity. They will find a way to keep striving to take their boredom and turn it into something worthwhile.