“The self must know stillness before it can discover its true song.” Ralph Brum
It’s okay this winter to let your kids get bored.
Really really bored.
I know in today’s world we think busy is good. We think we need to have our kids on travel soccer and two swim teams.
We think it’s important to take music and karate and to improve, improve, improve, always improve.
We take our kids on educational trips and have them learn a second language and drag them from store to store to store or on organized play dates.
We arrange fun activities and do science experiments on our kitchen floor.
Last time I checked you were not known as Cedric the Entertainer and you are not required to spend your every waking moment improving or entertaining them; in fact not only are you not required but also you’re not doing them any favors with you’re your frenetic scheduling and creative planning.
At some point later in their lives they will have vast amounts of free time; they will not have a mom marshalling their every move, arranging their social schedule and screaming at them to get off the electronics.
They will to, gasp, entertain themselves.
Youth is the time to pursue new things or find new adventures; to think wild thoughts; to get lost in the great outdoors with no purpose; to imagine; to waste time; to wander; to be bored and move beyond bored.
Don’t take that from them.
Great things happen beyond bored if you let them get there.
I don’t speak from a place of judgment; I speak from a place of experience.
As a new young mother twenty years ago I wanted to do right by my child so I played “small’ Batman and the Pokémon card game till I was ready to rip my eyeballs out. I arranged play dates and activities.
We took trips and rode bikes and never once did my son have a free moment to figure out what he might want to do because I was constantly figuring it out for him.
So this winter, give your kids a break.
This winter, give yourself a break.
Stop orchestrating every minute of their lives. Put a kibosh on all day electronics because as long as electronics are in the picture they will never ever be bored; they will fill their time with mindless blips and bleeps and online conversations and blank staring at screens until they disappear zombie-eyed into their beds.
Watch them scowl lounge suffer and smirk but whatever you do don’t fix it.
And it’s a beautiful place to be.