The other day I made a ruling. No TV until afternoon. I had been getting progressively more frustrated with her tendency to plop in front of the TV to start her day and not budge until I had to be a boss parent and insist she shut it off. Lectures are useless. She wasn’t exhibiting self-discipline in keeping to her 2hrs of screen time in the summer, so I set the parameter. No TV in the morning.
Her – “I don’t know what to do.”
Me – “How about drawing?”
Her – “Will you draw with me?”
Me – “No. I am busy now with things. You can draw on your own. You don’t always need someone to play with you.”
She looked dejected and walked off.
The house went silent. After fifteen minutes, I called out.
Me – “Bellina, what are you doing?”
Her – “Drawing.”
Me – “Ok.”
Later on, I went to check on her. To my amazement, she was not just drawing but developing a comic series. She had made up characters. The lead was a donut, it’s pal a cheese stick. It was a day in the life of the donut Donut went to school, made friends, was the one who knew math the best and ended up at donut’s house. It had dialogue and took place on many pages.
When I asked her at one point if she wanted to play tennis she gave me a face.
Me – “You want to keep drawing, huh?”
Her – “Yeah.”
Later, we talked about it.
Me – “How did you come up with the idea of a comic and those characters?”
Her – “I was just bored.”
Me – “Perfect!”
Her – “Perfect?”
Me – “Yeah. See, with not being sure what to do and no TV or tablet to take up that space, you eventually think about what you might enjoy. Then you just follow that enjoyment and see where it takes you. It took you to writing a comic, and it’s really clever and creative with a start, middle and ending. It all came from boredom!”
So, when you hear people say that boredom can be good for kids, I think what they are saying is that that it might connect them to enjoyment, which might connect them to part of who they are. authentically. She loves to draw and to make people laugh.
Here’s to plenty of room to be bored as kids and adults so we can follow enjoyment and see where it leads.