Yesterday I was talking to my kids at dinner when one of them uttered those classic words, “I’m bored.”
I told her that there were only two roads away from boredom, and only one of those was permanent. The second road would lead her right back to the boredom she hated, but the first road would give her a permanent tool that she could use whenever she wanted to get rid of boredom.
The second route to “curing” boredom was temporary stimulation. Kids today are engulfed by sources of stimulation, and stimulation can be a lot of fun. Television, video games, adult led and organized activities, and parental entertainment of kids are examples of external stimulation.
The problem with this second route for curing boredom is that it always required that she rely on the actions of others to escape her boredom, or on the use of things to stimulate her. And there would be many times when these people or things would not be available, or willing, to entertain her. Therefore, she would never feel truly free of her boredom. As we all know, once stimulating activities aren’t available, kids soon become bored again, irritable, and prone to fighting amongst each other, typically leading to parental disciplinary action, itself a negative stimulative act.
The first and best route to curing boredom is the ignition of imagination. With an empty but energetic mind, kids can turn their focus onto exploration and discovery. I told my oldest son years ago that boredom will come, and when it does, be thankful, for it is the match that ignites all creativity. Believe it or not, I think he understood me.
It is critical for children to discover this secret cure for boredom as early in life as possible. Adults in today’s world often seem to feel obligated to lead and guide their kid’s lives far too much in my opinion. Only when left to their boredom, within the guidelines of morally acceptable behavior, can kids really begin to discover who they are and what makes them tick?
I believe that if more parents in the past had let their kids experience this growth process early in life, there wouldn’t be so many mid-life crises today. Imagine how many years and how many lives could have been permanently improved if parents simply understood when to let their kids be bored once in a while.
Luckily for me, my kids are still young enough that when I talk about stuff like this, they actually listen. I know they do listen because, generally after such discussions, they continue the discussions with me in private.
I am quite aware that, once my kids hit their teen years, I can expect my platitudes to be met with rolling eyes and deaf ears. So I try to get them to think now, rather than preach. I know that they need to come to their own conclusions about things. I just want to make sure that they have the opportunity to see things in a way that will likely lead to healthy outcomes to their decisions later on. I think that is what all of us want.

Author's Bio: 

Hugh DeBurgh, The Passionate Warrior, has dedicated his life to the achievement of the ultimate family lifestyle. You can find him writing about Creative Family Lifestyle Design over at his blog, The Way of the Passionate Warrior. Currently he is on the second leg of a worldwide travel adventure with his wife and four young children. Follow Hugh on Twitter or sign up for his RSS feed and don't miss an update!