Unanswered Question: Why did “boredom” have to become a ‘bad’ thing?

What an interesting morning in the ‘blogosphere’ I’ve had. It seems to have produced a treasure trove of thoughts and questions.

My Unanswered Question for today was inspired by one of those exchanges. A subject of great interest to me is the evolution of environments kids grow up in.

I’ve already examined the dynamic changes in the make-up and size of nuclear families. There’s still ‘meat’ on that bone to take up later.
But my unique vantage point afforded by providing childcare for 46 years, has given me a clearer view of the timeline of changes in the realm of ‘being a kid’ than most people would have had.

The most mind-blowing thing I discovered my granddaughter doing recently was observing her watching videos of other children playing. It didn’t seem to be a curious inquiry that might inspire a game that she could play. It was merely a form of entertainment.

Her response when asked (probably a little too judgmentally), “What the heck are you doing?!” was, “I’m just bored.”.

She predictably rolled her eyes at my ‘all too familiar’ response of “Read a book.” before I pulled out some paints and invited her to the table.

Then it hit me. How many of you had parents who answered the “I’m bored.” complaint with a chore or a request for us to “Go outside and play with your friends, then.”?

Kids just can’t go outside on an impulse anymore. And sadly, there aren’t a bunch of other kids nearby either.

We had something they don’t… The opportunity to explore and ‘boredom’ inspired some of our best adventures!

The changes to our children’s and grandchildren’s environment didn’t stop at ‘less safety’ and fewer friends. It came from an attitude adjustment inspired by those things. Exploration had been replaced by entertainment.

I hope those of you still reading this can imagine the tragedy in the last statement. One broadens the mind, and the other broadens the “behind”. One embraces curiosity and creativity, and the other discourages those things.

Too many ‘old folks’ tend to immortalize their childhoods as the BEST, but this ‘old person’ can’t imagine that this ‘kernel’ of change is a ‘good’ thing.

Knowing that kids are learning to require entertainment certainly explains a lot of our current troubles. It comes down to expecting ‘boredom’ to be a ‘bad’ thing AND suggests that a person’s environment has an obligation to offer ‘entertainment’ instead of it coming from within.

My head is banging the table as I consider today’s question.

WHY DID BOREDOM HAVE TO BECOME A ‘BAD’ THING?




Mud Pies vs Easy Bake Ovens

My Smarty Pants!
My Smarty Pants! (my granddaughter at our camp.)

Memories from my childhood are very precious to me. I’m sure that there were occasions when I proclaimed,”I’m bored!” like any other kid, but the ways that I used to entertain myself, are sadly, less popular today. Some have been lost to the allure of technology for entertainment. Technology in the form of games and computers is an awesome way to learn! Many “over 50s” shake their heads with condemnation of these modern toys. Watch them closely though, they are the same folks who have saucer-sized eyes on Christmas morning, with their grandkids, and whisper to themselves, ” I would have given my right arm to have had one of those as a kid!”  Childhood, after all, is a magical time not a place.

In my day, the amount of fun a kid had was directly proportional to how dirty they got. Digging holes, wading in puddles, and pounding rocks to powder were a few “biggies” with me. Yes, I really DID make mud pies and cakes. Adding pebbles for cherries and sticks for candles made them quite appealing. No wonder, having such a soil based culinary background, I continue to be baffled by the Easy Bake Oven‘s popularity. First problem with EBO is that it requires adult supervision. A universal kid Truth…Fun does not fit in easily when there’s a direct adult presence. Why? Messes are seriously culled by adults, and as I’ve stated, messes are required for fun. Secondly, EBO takes time and waiting. Waiting is the second most deadly element to kid fun, as you know. The last and most important drawback, Easy Bake Ovens are used only indoors. Yikes! Kids need to be outdoors. Fun, the best kind, happens outdoors!

Still, the commercials and sales roll in for Easy Bake Ovens. Heck, now I realize why I see them at every tag sale. Their boxes are usually pristine with only one single cake mix missing. 😉

Story from Random Words #3 “Life Noticed… Life Inspired”

Sharing MY moment with you.http://www.creativitygames.net/

The Creativity Games site has a random word generator for folks who wish for prompts for stories, poems or discussion. It has offered me a lot of fun. I am about to create my third story using 5 words that I got there. My personal exercise rules consist of developing a story in one sitting and as quickly as I can. Today’s words are:

galvanise…button…title…leaf…value

Here is my story:

A blank stare and idle hands were not unfamiliar to me. It’s called “writer’s block”. As I waited for my creative juices to stir, my heart pounded. Creating a story is equivalent to giving birth in emotional satisfaction. When thoughts galvanise,  and a unique piece results, an extraordinary birth occurs. Even more than a normal birth, which takes two DNA donors, the new title comes only from myself.

Today my mind contemplates Mother Nature. She is a favorite subject and ever inspiring. I had a kid game that I used to play when I took long rides in the car on”old style” family vacations. There were no video players or hand-held electronic games in my childhood. The value of having nothing to entertain a child but their own imagination can not be measured or underestimated.

I called the game,”Never, Ever, going to see that again.” It consisted of one player, Me. Not a button, controller or battery needed.

I’d focus my attention on something outside my window. It was usually so small and insignificant that I knew only I would ever witness it. How often do we direct our attention to the ordinary, plentiful items that make up our world?

You’d think a bird would be a good subject. No way. That bird was bound to be witnessed by someone, somewhere, at a feeder or casting a shadow from above. My subject, most often, was one single leaf. A marvel of nature that was mine to behold and witness alone. The power in that “view of the world” has made me appreciate small things to a degree that I’ll always treasure.

This story was not only fun but true.