My brother and I stood at the window and watched my son, Clark, swing on the wooden gate that led to the pasture. "Clark is bored," Bud said. "That's good because it is an opportunity for him to grow."
We visited my brother and his family on their ranch during our vacation. It was a new experience for Clark to be away from the usual activity of a neighborhood filled with children and access to toys and games. He soon began to roam around the yard looking for something to do.
My brother's words puzzled me. I had always tried to keep Clark occupied. I hated being bored and found no pleasure in uselessness. I felt it was my duty, as his mom, to keep him busy.
Then I remembered my childhood and the lack of sympathy my parents gave me when I got bored. "Find something to do" was their predictable answer. Well, I did. It was out of the boredom of my childhood that I started writing stories.
An article in the July 25, 2005 edition of The Oregonian stated that some research suggests children who grow up with time for imaginative play are often happier and more flexible as adults. Todd Reiher, a psychology professor at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, said, "By immersing children in a regimen of excessive organized and scheduled recreation and education, we do a disservice to them in the name of good parenting."
Parents do not feel they are doing their job unless their children are active in sports, and often one activity is not sufficient. Music lessons must be added or perhaps an art class. Scout meetings are squeezed in, and what would a child do without an opportunity to have karate lessons? Not only are kids overstimulated, but parents are frazzled by the unrealistic scheduling.
"Time is all we really have in life," said Phil McKnight, a professor of education and Western civilization at the University of Kansas. "It's a precious gift that we sometimes neglect and squander. But if we really were to treat it with the respect it deserves, we would realize that some of our time should go toward pondering."
We need to view boredom as a useful tool to open a child's creativity. God can awaken a gift within each child which will develop as that child matures. The Bible tells us that we need to wait and listen for the Lord's leading. Can we expect our children to understand this concept as adults when we have trained them to schedule every moment? Boredom can be a blessing when it's considered quiet time that should be explored rather than avoided.