Like most people, I have my favorites. Even when it comes to words. Yes, words. For example, I don’t like the word procrastination. Don’t ask me why. Well, I don’t like procrastinating either, maybe that’s why. And one of my favorites is dilemma. Now who likes to be in a dilemma and neither do I. I just like the way it sounds perhaps!
And there are others but I seem to have a special problem with the word boring (and with any of its forms- bore, bored, boredom. Aah, even writing them down makes me cringe!) — and in a minute I’ll tell you why.
Recently my relationship with this word became even more apparent to me when one day my 4 yo daughter and I were home, playing dolls. After we were done with the dolls (and with many other activities), I asked her,
‘What would you like to do next?’
‘Mommy, I think I’m bored.’
‘You’re what dear?’
Bored? Really? My logical reaction would have been to ask her ‘Why?’, but that would have meant my acceptance of the fact that she was actually bored! So I first asked her what exactly she meant by it instead.
‘I’m bored because I think I have nothing to do.’
As a parent, a mom, of course a sharp guilt shot up my gut. Here I am playing with my kid and she says she’s bored?! Out of all things, bored?! I almost felt like apologizing! But as a parent, I also saw this as an opportunity to teach her ‘How to Never Get Bored 101’. It’s actually very simple and easy.
Before I tell you how, I have to take you back to my own childhood when I remember saying the same thing to my dad and that’s when I got my 101.
‘How can you have nothing to do? Think about it. Do you REALLY have nothing to do?’, used to be his response.
That’s it. It’s that simple and easy. Every time I used the word bored, I was discouraged to use it and got the same response. In fact, I would say 99% of the time I even actually did find something to get myself busy with! You see, no wonder I grew into always trying to keep myself busy and also not liking the word itself!
And, of course, my dad also taught (and still teaches) by example too. He never says he’s bored. Even when he almost is — he never lets his mind admit it. Admittance is half defeat to begin with, isn’t it? He is the greatest example I can think of, of a person who has the capability of keeping himself busy under any situation, making the best of what he’s got. His diverse interests, an insatiable desire to learn anything new, an acceptance for change – be it culture, language, food, climate, you name it, and an intrinsic flexibility to deal with countless different personality types, make him a very interesting role model I should say. And I believe this is all true because of that one underlying trait – he somehow never gets bored. Ain’t that amazing?
Now, I would be lying if I said that I always listened to him and that I haven’t wasted any time growing up. Of course I have. I have wasted a lot of it (and I still do perhaps). But like they say, you become a lot like your own parents when you become one. And so have I. After all, mom and dad are my reference guides in situations when I have to slow down and ponder upon my parenting skills (and life skills in general)! And so, trying to make up for the lost time I have deliberately diversified my interests and hobbies. My to-do list is now always long and bottomless; and I like that.
And so, I tell my daughter exactly what I used to hear from my dad.
‘You can never have nothing to do dear.’
And I recite to her a long list of things she could do instead of admitting boredom – pick a book, listen to music, practice dance, play with dolls, do puzzles, watch some TV, do some craft, color, paint, cut paper, take a nap (I wish!) and the list can really be endless! Keeping your mind occupied and yourself busy is immensely gratifying afterall. Chances are that she won’t understand the importance of it now (or so it may seem) or not not succumb to doing nothing at all but that’s not the intent anyway. She’ll at least be listening, and hopefully get it eventually; and that’s exactly what the intent is 😀