‘Excuse me’, I interjected as heard the exchange of words coming from the other room. My older daughter was talking with her father on the phone, telling him how I do not take them anywhere after work. A perplexed look crossed my face.
During dinner she stated that she simply told him the truth. That she was bored and that I did not take them anywhere. At first, I took offense to what she said. Then I thought otherwise as such are the circumstances this summer. There are plenty of things she could do if so she chose. But she did not. Neither did the other two children. For the most part.
‘Where were you thinking I could take you after work’, I asked and then continued to explain that I took time to make dinner so that we could all eat together before going to bed as I had work the following morning.
‘Shopping’, she stated.
‘I have no money for shopping’, I replied.
‘Well, I do and we still get allowance tomorrow’, she continued.
I tried to explain to all three of my children that being bored is good. They strongly disagreed. Boredom builds character as one needs to be actively thinking about how to use time in a way that does not involve someone else filling in the empty moments. When all of your time is planned out for you, there is little left for one’s imagination to take over.
This age of passive entertainment in the form of iDevices and computers has robbed both children and adults of being able to form their own thoughts. It has taken away their ability to become creative. To explore some random thought down a rabbit hole to a potentially amazing discovery. Instead, we have become so dependent on someone or something else filling our time that we have forgotten how to think independently.
As parents, we often struggle with the guilt of not being there for our children. Of needing to go to work in order to make money to pay the bills so that we can keep a roof over our heads. For a single mother, this guilt is greater as there is nobody else to fill in the time that she needs to be away from her children. Nobody to help with the bills so that she can take some extra time off work in order to spend a day driving somewhere, anywhere with the children or simply staying home and working on puzzles or Lego sets or baking a cake or cookies with one or all of them.
Reality is not always what we would like it to be. Therefore, we must learn to create our own reality. To shape our future and not allow others to make all of our choices for us. There is no need to waste precious time watching YouTube videos or movies. Of scrolling mindlessly through endless social media posts or playing games for hours on end.
Being bored is good. Grab a book and read it. Get a piece of paper and draw. Or write. Just do something. Anything.