‘I am bored. I am bored. It’s boring. Life is boring. Everything is a bore. Oh! Don’t bore me. You bore. You are a bore. He/she is a bore.’
Boredom has inflicted even the tiniest toddlers of the world. You look at them with astonishment as they voice their boredom without fully understanding what boredom is all about.
Deprive the millennial generation of their fancy gadgets and they spew molten lava of boredom card accompanied by whining, cranky, sulky behaviour.
I watch and listen in awe to their so-called boredom. Boredom stems from emptiness and nothingness. Give them nothing and they are bored. Take away something and they are bored.
Help them tackle the boredom. Boredom is the best stimulant for the growth of abstract ideas.
Give them something to do with nothingness…with emptiness.
Robots, machines and gadgets shouldn’t be the only entertainment. Let them be their own entertainment.
One day, during the annual vacation at school, I took my neighbour’s daughter for a treat. The cafe that served delicious and her favourite waffles was just a 3-4 minute walk. Maybe even less. We had hardly covered a few steps when she said she was bored.
‘Hmm’. I told her. ‘So how shall we make it interesting ?’
‘I don’t know’ she replied in a bored and dull voice.
Just then, a car entered our society. I asked her to read the nameplate.
‘7548.’ she quotes disinterested, robotic and obviously bored.
‘Well’ I said, ‘could you say it musically?’
Astonished and glad that I didn’t ask her to add, subtract or multiply the figures she excitedly started to add musical notes. 8 got a high pitch. 7 little below high, 5 and 4 moderate. Then began the juggling of numbers and pitches, soft, high, moderate, melodious singsong. She was giggling and laughing as she discovered a sprout of creative growth out of emptiness. Her eyes grew round in wonder as she discovered something from nothing.
The passing trees, don’t lecture them on environmental advantage. Don’t ask them to count the number of trees. Instead, ask them, do you think the trees are waiting for someone?? Do they feel alone? If, asked to talk to a tree what will you say to it? Let her think up of a conversation. Let her imagine she’s the tree’s friend. Ask them how do they grow without dad and mom? What do they feel standing in one place doing nothing? Let this ‘something’ take shape in the empty void of boredom.
Train, plane and car journeys can be utterly boring in a confined space restricting their movements for a couple of hours or a day or two.
This is a perfect time to help them develop patience. Tell them to stay still like a statue. Close their eyes and feel and hear nothing but their heartbeats. Ask them to clock it. How long can they stay still? How many times can they stay still in an hour? What did the stillness bring? Again, tell them to pen down any observations, happenings they experienced with their eyes closed. If, they keep absolutely still, was their listening sharp. Could they hear, feel more? Did silence have an impression of the ambience of the transport? Because still and silent observations will enhance their memory.
Ask them to reflect on their journey to the airport. Did they note, see, experience anything that interested them? Ask them to describe. Please, do not always carry some schoolwork to keep them occupied. Do not shush them up if they have queries.
It is a perfect time for social skills. Encourage politeness. Teach them to greet the air hostess, vendors and co-passengers.
At home, boredom hits as soon as they walk in after a play, after meeting friends, after leisure and fun time. They’re bored even when they’re home. They look at us, sigh and announce they are bored. Their trick is to trick you into access to the electronic gadgets. We give in to complete our hectic schedule.
At home, briskly tackle their boredom. Involve him in domestic activities. Give him his share of responsibilities. Though you know the answer to most of the tasks, ask him if, he has a better idea. These tasks should not be educational. They should be more of ‘house-is-a-home’ and ‘you’re-a-beloved-part’ tasks. Make him a part of the team and not a lord of the family.
Don’t let studies be the only connection between your child and you to keep him away from boredom. Tell him/her to give100% of his ability to contribute in a small amount to be a part of the home. Decorate the wall. Why this colour bed sheet? You will tell me a story.
Let them learn that it is ok to be bored… That from empty nothing rises marathons of diverse worlds… That the gadgets they enjoy are creations from a bored fancy, playful, wandering and observant mind… That boredom breeds patience and helps us accept a void… That boredom is time to develop a filial bond…That boredom brings us together for a board game, for balcony tents, a cycling session, a musical evening. Think up more of common hobbies to create a bank of memories.
Boredom is special. Boredom is creative. Boredom is educative. Boredom is welcome.