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 Exploration had been replaced by entertainment.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.



coolest frog
photo by sillyfrog

Once a pond a time,
There was an ancient solitary bullfrog.
He preferred to sit in the same spot; day in and day out.
Every evening, the backwater pond sprung to life.
Squeaking, peeping, splashing, and gulps filled the air.
The bullfrog never made a sound.
The other wildlife questioned his remoteness.
They even teased and tormented him trying to dislodge him from his trance.
The bullfrog never moved and never responded.
He was fat and healthy.
He fed opportunistically on the constantly moving insects and frogs.
Since he never moved, every calorie increased his size.
He watched and waited.
One day, an excursion of children found the back water.
When all the other frogs jumped to escape, the bullfrog still sat.
They marveled at the largest frog there had ever been!
A few of them threw rocks at the monstrosity, then grew bored and left.
One child stayed behind. She sat on the bank and quietly observed this marvel.
The bullfrog broke his lifelong silence and talked to the child.
“You are patient and kind, young one.”
Startled, the child didn’t answer.
“I have much to tell you. Will you listen?”
The wide eyed child nodded.
“I dearly wanted to learn the meaning of life. I’ve sat here watching all the days, the trials, the tragedies and the joy. I’ve been here forever. My body has lost any ability to move, now. My mind is fading with age and yet I have no answer.”
The child brightened and said, ” Do you want to play with me?”
The ancient solitary bullfrog’s fading eyes smiled and sparkled like the nighttime stars.
He laughed long and hard.
Then he croaked.

FOWC with Fandango — Solitary – This, That, and The Other (fivedotoh.com)

Cowboys, Guns and Pride

It wasn’t that long ago that I pretended to be Annie Oakley. Okay, 40 years is long in a lifetime but it feels like yesterday. I’d ride my pony, Socksey, at a gallop while balancing my pop gun. I played alone but never felt lonely.

As part of the first generation of kids with all day TV , the Wild West filled our airways and Cowboys were our heroes. From the modern perspective, these shows were violent and raw. How’s that modern perspective working for y’all?

  • teen suicide
  • school bullying with apathy from bystanders
  • random gun violence
  • deadbeat dads
  • laziness
  • sleep disorders
  • eating disorders

To name a few more modern pervasive ailments.

I started looking for videos to attach to this post. My eyes are still filled with tears and my heart with the pride from revisiting my ‘ol pals. Then I found the perfect video. A new movement to instill the virtues that I aspired to from my cowboy heroes. Food for thought people. I’m going to get some old westerns and watch them with my granddaughter.

BTW- I added guns to my title just to make this post “scary” and controversial enough to get you to consider it. 🙂

Colorful Socks

Of all the gifts one receives in their life, there are some that keep giving.

Yes, a magazine subscription is one example. A family photo is another one to revisit and enjoy.

My favorite one is new socks. A package of new socks, given at Christmas, can start my day happily right through Easter.

First, knowing that they are there, bright, pristine and stretchy. I hoard them until I need a little something extra. A morning full of chaos can be brightened ten fold by using a new pair. I can just tell when I need them.

They are hopefully brightly colored. That makes them much easier to keep paired AND life is just too short to wear dull common socks. I wear two different colored socks sometimes, possibly because their mates are temporarily missing but often to see if my kids notice. When they do, I tell them that I have another pair somewhere just like those.

Playing “head games” with kids is so important. Makes them think outside the box. I am surprised by their ability to “catch on”. When a kid ,of 3, says,” I’m thirsty.” My response is usually, “Hello thirsty, where’s (their name)?” Often the very next time they want something to drink they rephrase their request and say ,”NO, (their name) is thirsty.”

One of my former kids was known by the nick-name ( I give each of them their own) Punkin’ Pie. I made up a jingle about her. Now, at age 12, she remembers it still.

She’s my Punkin’ Pie and I don’t know why?

Maybe she’s cute

Maybe she’s sweet

Maybe I’ll just nibble on her…


She still giggles as we pause for the last word which long ago she realized was supposed to rhyme. I can remember the day that she “got it”. Before that it was just a jingle. I always left the last word off and let her end the song.

By playing word games, my kids really caught on to the complexity of language. Especially the ways we could be misunderstood by the misplacement of only one word in a statement.

Sometimes a word will come up and I will write it down as “word of the day”. I tape it to the kitchen door. Once in a while we will list other words that mean the same thing. Poison was followed by toxic and venom. We spent a whole week on those words and the kids kept interjecting them into daily discussions. Those words led to talks about nature,safety,and other words and their meanings. Kids really like to talk and I love talking with them.

At day’s end, when we are waiting for parents to arrive, I have a question and answer time. They LOVE it. Big kids of mine ,who stop by for only a day still ask for “question and answer” time. I use that time to question them on safety practices. A specific question might be, “What would you do if suddenly confronted by an unknown dog who is snarling at you?” The ones who have played before know that they should not make eye contact and should not run but remain still and look like a frozen tree. The littler ones listen and learn and if they have all forgotten what to do, I am able to refresh their memories. I throw in questions about science, good manners and grammar as well.

Talking to kids is as much fun as wearing new socks. It makes for a colorful and happy feeling all day long. This is why I like brand new colorful socks. Get it?

Facinating as we are…

When I point out differing opinions, it is never meant as a criticism. In fact, I find the emotional lives of people fascinating!

Yes, if we didn’t like the way we related to the world individually, we would change. Changing people is not my mission nor would it be possible. I wish everyone to step back and appreciate our differences. It is impossible to have patience with others if we don’t recognize that differences are real and not right or wrong.

Who knows what makes us tick?

The people who I feel are most similar to myself are not the ones I necessarily love the most. If I am remembered for one saying (probably said by others many times) ,”What we love most about others is usually what we dislike most about them.”


I am not terribly interested in the order of things. This makes me spontaneous, creative and fun for kids.

Being disorganized affects my paperwork and housekeeping.

Everyone has there own priorities and no one is perfect.

We all strive for perfection but value different aspects of our day.

The hard part comes along when we measure others by our own standards. We all have areas that need work and you could never convince me that being organized is a bad thing. I wake up in the night wishing to become more organized! As day dawns, I can not help but stack dishes and put off paperwork in favor of “playing with my kids”. It IS my job to make sure their days are happy and productive. Some might put them in a row on the couch with TV and snacks and organize away…what I strive for is a happy medium.

This post is my way of talking, out loud, to myself. You may comment away as I enjoy the thoughts of others!