Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Cure For Boredom

"For those of the current generation the normal reflex when bored is to watch a video or surf the Web. What can we do to help our young people accept the short-term pain of learning creative life skills in order to avoid the long-term pain of chronic subconscious boredom? What can we do to teach them that an addiction to electronic entertainment will shrivel their souls? Many of the short-term solutions to boredom undoubtedly give pleasure. But these are unsustainable and provide only a counterfeit of life and ultimately lead to spiritual emptiness." (p. 124)

Unfortunately,I can't remember where this quote came from. Of the nine books I've read in April, it has to be either What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty or Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler. I'm thinking it must be the Jane Austen one for it made many contrasts between the 19th century and our present time. They're both worth reading. I'll be reviewing Rigler's book here soon.

I think the solution has to be the parents. The most important thing that we can do is to not be addicted to "counterfeit life" ourselves. Our children are going to emulate us. If they see us always connected to a portable device, then that's what they'll want, too. We need to be parents and people who are interested in real life.

My parents and grandparents took me along with them when they did their shopping, visiting, and chores. I learned how to be an adult alongside them. They took an interest in the world and so did I. If I wanted to learn something new which they weren't interested in, they made sure I had lessons. I was in 4-H club where I learned all sorts of things. I read voraciously and was outside most of the day when I wasn't in school or doing chores. The great outdoors is a great teacher! And because of my upbringing, I'm never bored today. In fact, one lifetime isn't enough time to do all the things I'd like to try and accomplish.

I believe many children today have too much leisure time. If they're keep busy and engaged doing chores or being with adults as they work, then when they do have free time, they'll treasure it. Games, books, and toys should be provided for the children to use as well as large quantities of unscheduled time outside. This is when their imaginations are expanded the most and they learn to appreciate nature.

Anyone have any thoughts on how you keep your kids from being bored? Are you bored yourself? Is electronic device addiction something with which you or your children struggle?


Barbara said...

Sounds kind of like what happened to Paul Miller during the year he was paid to stay off the internet. Of course he was left without any real answer to his dilemma, but Tim Challies helps with that. It turns out that electronic stimulation is just the current incarnation of an age-old problem of abusing something that is good and letting our own pleasures rule us - eventually they wind up profiting nothing. CS Lewis drove it home long before there was a such thing as the internet, as quoted so magnificently here.

debbie bailey said...

Excellent, Barbara. Thanks for the links.

Cranberry Morning said...

Great post! Our kids played outdoors, building forts and sand communities at the creek, making tree houses and riding horse. I have often commented that I don't see today's children outdoors playing. It is sad. And I've noticed how it has spilled over into children's ability to do crafts. Many cannot do the simple things like cutting, gluing, painting, drawing, because a)they're used to instant gratification rather than having to work at something and b)they're plugged into electronics all day and haven't developed the hand/eye coordination for such things. I'm thinking it might be a good idea for families to have a few days or week where they simply 'unplug' and spend time doing things. They'll be surprised how much fun it is.

Gumbo Lily said...

Our kids grew up in the country on our working ranch. Work is what they did (alongside us) when they weren't homeschooling. Then came time to do their own things. One went to the shop to mechanic on cars and tractors, another painted, others rode their horses, they all built a magnificent tree fort. There were also "inside chores" to learn like canning, cooking, baking, sewing, and embroidery. Even the boys learned all these things.

When the grands come over, we are outdoors mostly. When indoors we play in watercolor paints, cut, glue, and sometimes cook and bake too. It's fun.


Left-Handed Housewife said...

My older son is very attached to his electronics, and we're struggling with that, giving him a strict schedule for when he can be on the computer, etc. It's hard.

My younger son is more likely to be found playing outside. And now, I'm pleased to report, he's doing more reading on his own.

I go through periods where I find myself wandering aimlessly around on the Internet because I'm bored--usually when there's not enough time to work on a project. I'm training myself to pick up a book instead.


Cathy said...

Wonderfully put.

I ponder this issue often with two daughters in the home. Real life is always my preference of doing, creating, and enjoying. Raising two sons in the 80's and 90's was not the challenge in this matter as it is today with devices everywhere.

I do not get bored because, like you, there is always more to do than I have time in worthwhile real life. To fnd the time for computer is my challenge!

Off this side...thank you for the encouragement ragarding sons being far away....

Cathy said...

"regarding"...sorry...I find myself doing this so often these days. Something about typing in small places I think!

wayside wanderer said...

Your post reminded me of this article I read yesterday: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christine-grossloh/have-american-parents-got-it-all-backwards_b_3202328.html

My daughter (20) was telling me the other day that she had a very happy childhood and she attributes it to having to entertain herself and not having a lot of screen time.

Amanda said...

That is a wonderful quote, and I really appreciate your sharing it. This is a real issue today with my teenagers and their friends. But, I doubt it is because kids have too much free time. In fact, they have too little free time when they aren't supposed to be doing homework or going to some after-school activity. Who wants to read or be creative when your brain is exhausted?

debbie bailey said...

You're absolutely right, Amanda.

Vintage Reading said...

Jigsaws! 1,000 piece jigsaws in the summer holidays always drag my teenagers away from their phones/facebook/twitter. I'm quite fond of jigsaws, too.