With summer coming up, for some of us it’s already upon us, there seems to be a lot of talk about kids and boredom. Which kind of makes me scratch my head. Growing up, my sister and I were not allowed to be bored. Okay, we were allowed to be bored, but my dad made it very clear from a very young age that we DID NOT want him to “solve” our boredom problem. His theory was that there were always things to do, so how could someone possibly be bored. Therefore he was more than happy to direct you to one of those tasks like: sweeping out the garage, hauling firewood, picking up dog crap in the backyard, sanding the front deck (not with power sanders mind you, a block of wood with sandpaper stapled to it), etc. And should the word “bored” escape from your lips these were not suggestions, these were directives. Generally half way through the assigned task he would holler from the door, “Still bored? I’ve got more stuff for ya!” We learned quickly that we were NEVER bored. EVER!
We were kids though, so there was generally the yearly reminder at the beginning of the summer when one of us would let it slip. Or worse yet, one of our friends would let it slip. Our father had no problems setting any child under his roof to a task to “cure” boredom, and cure it he did! We did not have video games or computer games, we did not have the internet and we did not have 200+ channels to choose from or movies on demand. We had books, board games, bicycles, the great outdoors and our imaginations. We used all of them and quickly discovered that there was no need to be bored. We had the world at our disposal . . . as long as we stayed in the yard and came in when it got dark. But truth be told, even that was negotiable.
While I am sure the ten year old me sanding the front deck would disagree, I think he did all of us a great service. I can’t remember the last time that I was bored. It’s not in my vocabulary. I always have something to do, can create something to do to amuse myself. I don’t need outside stimulation or motivation. He taught us to be independent, starting with something as simple as our own entertainment. Well played dad. Lesson learned and deck sanded . . . I’m still a little bitter about the deck . . . not that you’d notice or anything . . .