Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Boredom is Okay

In the 1970’s summer vacation meant: staying up late, sleeping late, beach bumming, Bible camp, and eating ice cream…lots and lots of ice cream. If we were bored, our mothers would offer us plenty of chores or look over their cat-eyed frames with one raised eyebrow and say, “And what are you gonna do about it?”

So what did we do when we got bored and we’d watched enough reruns of The Brady Bunch, Leave it to Beaver, Captain Kangaroo, and all the Looney Tunes Cartoons you could stomach?

We played.

That’s right. We played unorganized games with neighborhood kids like us; sometimes made-up games with silly names and rules that changed. We pool-hopped around the neighborhood, rode bikes to the corner store for ice cream, candy and soda (fully loaded with sugar), played school and house, colored, painted with water colors, drew pictures, read books, and of course we did our household chores.

As teenagers, we spent days and nights at our best friends’ houses, took drivers ed classes and drove our friends to the beach as often as we could afford the gas and our work schedule permitted.

That’s right, we also worked. We worked wherever we could find a job—the local grocery store, department store, fast-food restaurant. Work was a right-of-passage at sixteen. It meant we were gaining independence from our parents, earning adult money and taking on adult responsibility.

I passed this training-out-of-boredom onto my children. Early on they learned that boredom is okay. I was not responsible to fill up their boredom hours, they were. They used their imaginations and abilities to fill their lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer as was fitting and according to parental boundaries. 

(Struggling with over-scheduled or bored children? Join me at the Christian Children's Authors blog for the rest of the story).

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