Allowing Boredom

A few years back, after an altercation with another student at recess, I took away the Gameboy of beloved youngest son for a week. Frustrated, a couple days into his withdrawl, he announced, “I’m going to die from lack of entertainment.”

Well, he didn’t die. And I’m pretty sure that few people do die of boredom. I’ve never had a hospice patient with the ICD-9 code,  Boredom: end stage.

And I would argue that there are benefits to a little boredom. We modern folks need to rediscover the joy of free time and empty space.

We entertain ourselves every waking minute. Wake to radio, and leave it on while we shower. TV on while we eat breakfast, I-pod on while we travel to work or school.

We fill our homes with furniture and books and movies and clothes that “define” us, that “tell the world who we are.” But most of us don’t know who we are separate from picking our set of “likes” out of the multiple choice offerings that the marketers have researched that our demographic is likely to choose.

Nothing original comes from picking one of three of “this season’s colors” anymore than it comes from answering a multiple choice test.

Each one of us is an irreplaceable, completely unique individual and one of the best ways to discover who that is to see what ideas arrive in the down time. What do we choose to put on the blank canvas?  What music do we hear when we turn other people’s music off?

Remove the extra stuff from your home, the unwanted activities from your calendar, the constant demands from outside for your attention and see what captures your attention then.

You won’t die from boredom. I promise.

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2 responses to “Allowing Boredom

  1. This is great! We have break now & kids were clamoring for TV before lunch. I said not that early in the day – find something else to do. They ended up reading, drawing, having a tea party, making pudding for dessert, making fresh butter from some cream that was in the fridge, getting their own snacks (see above – butter!), listening to story CDs, etc. In fact, they went the whole afternoon, completely forgetting the TV! 🙂

  2. Exactly! Think what adults could do if they turned all their electronic stuff off too.

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