I see many social media posts these days claiming children are bored during this quarantine. There is a part of me that is shocked in hearing that. Children have incredible imaginations, so how does boredom fit into that equation?
A couple of things occurred to me. First and foremost was “What is the opposite of being bored?” Being entertained. As such, we could say that if a child isn’t being entertained by someone or something, the child defines that as boredom.
We all come into this world with a mind that was intended to be used creatively in a right and proper way. As a nanny, I can’t tell you how much fun it is to play act with kids. When you lay out a scenario with them, set it up (so to speak), it’s such a joy to see their eyes when they get involved and their imaginations start flowing.
One day some years ago, I was caring for two girls, ages 3 ½ and 5 at the time. We were in their back yard, there was a lull in their playing, and I said to them “Let’s play castle.” I laid out the castle grounds, the location of the big front door, the spiral staircase, etc. The 3 ½ year old jumped in and said “Oh, and over here is the queen’s big chair…and over here is the kitchen where they cook.”
I looked over at the 5-year old who was just standing there. I asked her if something was wrong. She responded “I don’t get what we’re doing”. I asked her if she knew what playing make believe was. She said no. I took some time to share with her about imagination and pretending. She then worked the best she was able to immerse herself in the playing.
Later that day I was thinking about her and wondered how something as natural as using your imagination wasn’t natural to her at all. The intellect was something that was very strongly focused on during this child’s early years. As such, when she wanted to do something, she always reached for something that was intellectually based, because that was the known pattern in her life. The imaginative mind was foreign to her, but all she had to do was find it within herself, which she did.
Children create through imagination. They play out conflicts within themselves through imagination and play acting. It is all good, healthy and a necessary part of childhood. A child has it available to tap into any time they wish.
Perhaps by pushing the intellect so strongly in a child’s early years, we suffocate that natural creative imagination in them that is intended to be cultivated for proper use later in their adult life.
Just to question things as we always do on this blog, let’s ask this question: “Is boredom something real?” You may recall my recent blog entitled “What goes up, must come down.” I spoke about the opposites in this world, and how one side, i.e. “happy” is always coupled with its opposite side “sad”. The opposite side arises (comes into play) when the expectation of one side isn’t met.
It’s the same thing here. “When I’m not entertained as I expect to be, I flip to the opposite side of that coin and believe I’m bored.”
There’s really no such thing as boredom. We have so forgotten how to just be ourselves and be with ourselves in the moment, that’s all. We’re so caught up in the mind that is always telling us the things we need to entertain ourselves with in order to be happy, that we never see that it’s just a tactic of that
mind to misdirect us from just plain being in the moment. How can living in the present moment, being a part of real life, ever be boring?
Perhaps that is what we are being reminded of through this pandemic. That we have forgotten how to just simply be.
Exercise for the week: See if you can catch yourself trying to keep yourself busy doing something instead of just being in the moment with yourself. See just how difficult that is. That’s how far we have strayed from ourselves.