Monday, December 27, 2010

A Frame of Mind

Countdown to 'back to school'. The anticipation of decorating the tree, opening packages, stuffing ourselves like a Thanksgiving turkey are behind us now we look at the days until school starts up again.

Tomorrow I will be back with the girls again. They had three Christmases with presents to open. One more will happen next weekend. Hm. I remember the day after Christmas when my children were tired and cranky. Nothing more was to be anticipated. It was all behind us. The words inevitably find their way out of a child's mouth post Christmas, "I'm bored."

I don't remember being bored. We never got much for Christmas. Maybe that is the ticket. Don't overwhelm the child. Well, we know that's not going to happen.

Boredom. I believe boredom to be born of parents buying entertainment for their children. Children don't know how to live with boredom. To savor the feeling of lying in the grass with the sun on your face and nothing in the world sitting on the edge of the mind waiting to entertain. My mind was my entertainment. Listening to my records for hours. Rollerskating around a ping pong table, sitting at the piano. I don't remember boredom as a child. I guess I don't know as an adult either.

The TV, Wii and X-Box become the babysitters. New books sit in a pile gathering dust. God help us if the TV goes out!!!!

I'm not condemning anyone for purchasing video games or allowing their children to watch TV. But I do think that maybe our kids are growing up expecting instant gratification. Maybe handling boredom is a skill that needs to be taught. I sometimes wonder if this generation will have more problems with marriages and jobs finding change and excitement, self-satisfaction more to their liking then dedication and persistence.

Yes, I'm old fashion. Growing up in my home on the farm involved sitting at the card table with family putting a puzzle together. All of us around the piano singing carols. Chatting around the kitchen table visiting for hours. In my opinion, we have lost something. We have lost connection with one another.

My son has often commented that the people he knows don't ask about what is happening in his life. Yesterday a friend visiting shared the same. What is it we are doing wrong? Why don't we care enough to ask about others instead of talking about ourselves and our families? Have we forgotten to care? Are the skills of listening gone? 

Maybe conversation around the kitchen table, cooking in the kitchen together, sharing chores teaches us to care for and appreciate one another more. Even playing the games together is important, but there is something to be said for a board game vs. a video game. A phone call versus a text message.

I notice on the days the girls and I spend around the table painting or the times we play school or practicing acting exercises, the girls don't seem to notice that the TV is off. Even when the playing is done, a new bond is in place, and we share the quieter time of the day. We take more of interest in one another. Sister seems happier to help sister. A change has taken place.

"Grammy, I'm bored," will be said by one of the girls this week. That's my signal. My signal to help them discover that boredom is only a frame of mind.


  1. When kids (or grown-ups) say that they are bored, what they usually mean is not that they have nothing to do, but that their mood doesn't match the available activities. I really can't imagine anyone being bored with you in the house! I bet you dispatch that boredom quite quickly!

  2. It starts with buying all those "educational" toys for babies instead of just opening the door to the pots and pans, throwing in some plastic measuring spoons and letting them entertain themselves. I confess I have succumbed to even "Baby Einstein" DVDs, but I sincerely wish I would have had the courage not to.

  3. Oh, Nona Nita, I so agree. I grew up with few toys and good old pots and pans. I learned to be creative and find adventure at every turn. We all bought the educational toys for our grandchildren. Thank goodness we realize that they need encouragement to explore as well. Thank you for writing. Happy new year to you and your family.