By Pastor Paula Burchill
I have mixed feelings about the argument I often use on behalf of my kids—but they love it! It seems like I most often use it to justify our busy schedule. We have sports five nights a week–but they love it! We never have a free weekend because of all of our activities—but they love it!
I have mixed feelings because I don’t allow them to do plenty of other things that they love—like eating candy all day or staying up until midnight every night on their devices. Whether or not they love it is of no concern because I’m confident that I know best.
So that makes me wonder why I don’t trust my gut in other areas of their lives.
It is tough because sports or dance or theater or music or other time-consuming kids’ activities are wonderful. They teach kids teamwork and discipline and perseverance and countless other really good things. Not to mention, they are a lot of fun.
But I also really believe in boredom for kids—because they aren’t bored enough. When my kids tell me they are bored and there is nothing to do, inside I secretly rejoice. “Something fun must be just around the corner,” I tell them. And I know they are learning a very important life skill—dealing with boredom.
The problem is they usually just don’t have enough time to be bored.
But they love it…..
The conundrum is that when you love doing something, it often means you have found your passion. As an adult, it is important to do what you love and to find something that gives you joy. And it can be difficult to find time to do what you love. So how wonderful that so many kids are given the time to really get into a sport or musical theater. But I think maybe the thing that just doesn’t quite sit right with me in my gut is that if they aren’t bored, they might miss out on finding something on their own that they love—like building forts, or looking at bugs, or baking cookies.
Honestly, I don’t have an answer. My kids are way too busy, and I know it. It is a different world than when I was a kid, and many activities are just a lot more time-consuming.
But I do pray that all of us parents would not be afraid of boredom or of saying no to all the busy-ness. Because who knows? Something we don’t even expect might be just around the corner for our kids and even for us.