The Gift of Boredom
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|   Mar 12, 2016
The Gift of Boredom

I'm bored has got to be the most overused phrase by children...after the earth-shattering, record-breaking Mommmmmm of course.We seem to be raising our children in times of overstimulation.Technology, and gadgets add entertainment to relieve the most excruciatingly boring situations that children of previous generations weren't privy to(remember long car and plane rides, or accompanying mom to the bank or doctors without an iPad in our hands).Moreover, todays ever-increasing facilities and infrastructure and exposure give access to the younger generation to so many novel and varied experiences, that our children seem to be driven to a state of productive exhaustion simply by racing against time to reach their various classes each day.So one would think that there shouldn't be any time for them to be bored. But surprise surprise...there is!! And the minute those dreaded words leave their lips, they seem to take on a magical hypnotic power that suddenly transform us parents into a panic-stricken hyperdrive where we immediately organise play dates. Heaven forbid our little children should be bored!!I remember those wonderful days when I was a new mommy. Additionally armed with a hangover of being a preschool teacher and children's author I was simply bursting with ideas on how to stimulate my baby. Picture books were bought and used at the ripe age of 7 months; meals on the high chair were accompanied by vocalist Mamas very own Top 20 nursery rhyme singles; an art activity was conducted every afternoon; followed by a trip to the park for some much needed fresh air and gross motor skill development; and my home practically resembled a play school.The results showed of course. My children were both speaking fluently at an early age, could express themselves well and grasped concepts quickly.Needless to say, and I want to be emphatic on this point...I did and continue to love every moment of parenting and If I had to be a new mother all over again I would still do it all in exactly the same manner..well, with maybe one difference.In hindsight I would have factored in some time for boredom!Because now that they are older, the disparity in my childhood and theirs is becoming increasingly obvious. My children don't seem to have the time to be bored and when they do they're not sure what to do about it. And here's why I find this worrying. Because knowing how to self-entertain is the fine yet crucial difference between being alone... and being lonely.Because adult life as we know it, is cyclical. It has it's ups and downs. Phases, when life is not just frenzied and adrenalin-pumping but also when it's quiet, humdrum and monotonous. When years go by without any major change. It is in those days when you depend on your own company... and it better be a good one.Moreover, boredom is essential for imagination and role play. I remember my sister and I would be cooped up in a room for hours essaying the roles of everything from doctors, mothers, teachers and even the milkman. And when I look back at my childhood, it is those moments that I remember with utmost fondness.Imagination is as essential in the overall development of the mind as are structured activities. So the next time we hear the infamous hair-raising I'm bored or we see our children aimlessly slouched on the couch for a prolonged period of time, it may be a good idea to leave them there.alone with their thoughts, instead of immediately recommending a book or supplying art material or scheduling a new class to unearth a fresh talent. Because for all we know, that seemingly wasted time when our children learn to connect with their own thoughts might just lead to a new invention someday or creative accomplishment. But if nothing else, it will teach them life's most important lesson...to listen to their inner voice and to learn to enjoy their own company so they never feel lonely again!

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