Nov. 15, 2020: Let Them Be Bored!
The lament of children everywhere who want us to swoop in and entertain them. Provide them with something fun, or interesting to do. Not just an affliction just for children, boredom can hit us as adults as well.
Boredom for all of us, rears its head when we have unstructured time. Something that has been in abundance for most people since the pandemic struck. When everything came to a screeching halt. Talk to anyone about the changes most prevalent in their lives in 2020, and the amount of unstructured time usually tops the list. The hours and days freed up that used to be filled with gatherings, sports, events, concerts, and socializing. While some virtual options have slipped in, the fact remains that for most people, we are dealing with more unstructured time.
There is a definite connection between boredom and discovering ones’ talents, passions, and gifts. One does not have to go far or dig too deep to find scientific articles and studies that uncover the link between boredom and creativity. Having chunks of unstructured time to let your mind wander has been proven to be a catalyst for creative idea generation. Creative idea generation is the first step to innovation.
I also believe that this unstructured time allows for the discovery of talents and passions we might not have known we had. With time to devote to pastimes that were never nurtured before- perhaps you uncovered your green thumb, your poet’s heart, or your culinary skill.
For many children, this may be the first time they have had so much unstructured time. Instead of their schedules being packed with activities, lessons, and gatherings, they are being forced to slow down. For adults, we understand the value of breaks in routine and pricelessness of unexpected time. For children who have always had their time filled and scheduled for them, this can be unnerving.
Naturally, as the adults, we want to fix it. So we try to plan things for them. Make suggestions. Try to alleviate their boredom.
I am here to say that in my humble opinion, that is a mistake. Let them be bored. Let them wallow in the time. Let them think, putter, wonder, dabble. Perhaps they will discover a new passion or talent.
So the next time you hear them say “I’m bored”, be sure to respond with “Awesome! Now get creative!”