Friday, May 20, 2011

Embracing Boredom

She sat in the grass holding her phone. The 'finally here' spring day warmed her. 

"Grammy, I'm bored," Sydney said.

"I know," I answered.

The limbs fell around my feet as I sculpted the winter growth from the tree in my son's yard. I continued my project. Gabby sat with her aunt doing homework and talking to Millie, the dog. Sydney sat with her phone in her lap.

Boredom. We all experience. Some embrace it giving reason to complaint. I always found it to be a catalyst to creativity and imagination. I understood how Syd felt. Often as a child, I sat in a chair hoping we would go home from a visit with adults and children I didn't know; however, I learned something from those long periods of boredom. I learned patience.

My first impulse was to find something to occupy my granddaughter. We could have gone home with my project incomplete. But this boredom was good thing. There was no computer or TV to occupy her mind. Only nature and family was available. It was good for Syd to be alone with herself and her boredom, to find her own solutions to her situation. Just maybe her surroundings would talk to her in a new way.

Boredom is part of learning. It insists on tolerance and endurance. I have often heard parents say that they will not take their children to an event because they would be bored. So how do they learn to handle those empty times in their lives when they are not entertained if we don't allow them to experience it? I'm pretty good at boredom. I'm pretty good at mundane conversation. I've learned to wait in a car with a book or paper and pencil. I've learned to stand in a long line or sit in a waiting room meeting new people. I've learned to ask myself just what I'm made of. Does my circumstance control me or do I control the circumstance?

Boredom. Maybe we should teach our children more about that word. Maybe we need to teach ourselves that boredom can be exciting.

There is adventure in those times of empty. I'm adventurer. How about you?


  1. I usually have an emergency book or an audio book downloaded to my iPhone, but once in a while if I get away without one, I find that I really enjoy just watching the world.

  2. I agree with you both.
    I think parents are forgetting that children need to learn to wait and do mundane things, and that boredom is a part of life. Without boredom, you will never know the value of being busy and having things to do.

    Brilliant post, as always :)
    Thank you!

  3. Thank you both for your comments. Growing up is difficult. I'm still working on it.