09 August 2013

Boredom

We are a few weeks into the school summer holidays where I live and so many of the shops that I drove past when visiting family last week were offering ways to alleviate boredom.

This really saddened me, in a day and age when we have a highly structured school system, when children may be in organised activities before and after school as their parents are out at work, holidays should be about freedom from structure.  It is also indicitative of children's lives being so structured and organised for them that they are no longer able or wanting to engage in free play.

Our perceived danger out on the streets, cars aside, means that they no longer play freely outside.  So liked caged animals in a zoo they are stuck inside unsure of what to do with all the 'free' hours.

Perhaps the boredom busting activities on offer are better than being glued to a screen but what happened to children busting their own boredom?  If a child says I am bored aren't they are really saying tell me what to do?

Are we in danger of creating a society of unthinkers who are not able to do anything unless it has been suggested, created or managed by someone else or am I just being dramatic?

There is nothing wrong with being bored.  In my opinion it leads to creativity if you just give it a chance.

6 comments:

  1. I agree totally. Where I lived when I was younger there was nothing 'structured' to do. So we spent out free time getting dirty, building den's, scrumping apples (naughty naughty) and, this was the favorite - building a high jump with bamboo poles and an old mattress (which was also used for gymnastics!). My mother was a SAHM but wasn't constantly coming up with 'activities' for us, we just got on with it! So when we did get taken to the beach or the outdoor pool we really appreciated it.

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  2. I'm with you there, Emma, we used to disappear for hours at a time with no mobile phones to check in with. We had to deal with guard geese (a bloody nightmare if you try to scrump ;) )

    I find what appears to be the automatic assumption that everyone will find the 6 week holidays 'challenging to entertain children' rather depressing.

    I agree that boredom is important - it pushes you to be creative, challenges you to come up with solutions to the boredom.

    I worry that children are being increasingly denied the opportunity to develop their creativity to combat boredom and thus, their creativity to develop *anything* :(

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  3. If mine ever tell me they're bored I tell them it's good for them to be bored. I do believe that. If a grown-up tells me they're bored, I think it's because they are boring! Don't know how people could be bored, with the whole world out there. I also tell the children that once they can read they need never be bored. And it does amaze me how good they are at entertaining themselves. When they complain they're bored, it's usually because they're tired, or because it's been raining and they've not been able to go outside. I like your post, it's something I agree with.

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  4. Totally agree with you! Boredom is nothing to be scared of and definitely doesn't need 'curing', it breeds creativity.

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  5. I couldn't agree with you more! Although I do think the conditioning you describe is something many will overcome in adulthood. But even if today's youngsters do prove to be capable of busting their own boredom in later years they will probably do so by turning to the same highly structured video games and the like that they enjoyed as children. Maybe we should start a free range kids campaign!

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  6. I agree with all the above comments and the post. When I was a young-un (although that wasn't all that long ago to be honnest!)I used to disappear for hours on end, we didn't have mobile phones and as long as we were back by dark/dinner it wouldn't matter. I used to go scrumping and just cycle for miles and miles, get filthy and wet and just generally have great fun.

    I think it is important for children to play outside, get into trouble etc because otherwise they won't learn boundries of what they should and shouldn't do and more importantly it helps us realise how the world around us works.

    You are going to be bored if you are stuck inside in front of a screen all day, but get outside and open your eyes. There's an entire world out there to be discovered!

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