“Enforced solitude along with a blank paper is a wonderful spur”
These words were cited by a comedienne turned writer. A beautiful quote rarely heard. Many creative heads from yester years believe stillness and being bored in their childhood years is healthy and has helped them enhance their creative thinking. As a caregiver, we often think our primary motive is to keep the child occupied and mechanize his life.
A piece of my everyday life
I will start with my own 4year old this time. Almost every morning, he comes to me around 9:30 in the morning, hoping I am done with lunch prep. Typically, we go out and play in the mornings. I sit down and play for a wee bit after explaining him about how I will need his help in finishing up my tasks. Once done, we can go and spend as much time we want biking/playing (well, to be honest, in our case, staring at trains, construction trucks and other vehicles on the street). But, when it’s mostly my part of work pending, he is either playing by himself or sitting on our sofa bed; BORED. So, he starts to look outside the window and is pretty much occupied for some more time. I get to wind up with my work. While I have trained myself to let him deal with his boredom, sometimes I manage to steal those precious moments from him. I am sure a lot many of you out there sail on the same boat. If I may ask, why is it so difficult to accept a child sitting idle? It is for him to figure out what he can do with that little time he has for himself. Be it, small holiday breaks, little spaces of time during a day or summer and winter breaks.
She is just staring, is she BORED?
Call him a child who is too shy to respond, a day dreamer or a child who is disinterested in the world around him, the truth is children love to stand, stare and they don’t like to be interrupted. Let them be and they will be present to you once they are done. This process is a great deal of inner work happening. That of observing his environment, developing his thought process around it and assimilating his experience through indoor or outdoor play.
… Some random rants
“My little one gets bored easily”, “He does not do anything for too long”, “I don’t know what to do with my child when he is home”, “I am too bored looking at him do silly little things” . These are some of the complaints from the adults regardless of what the child feels. Screen time deflates that ballooning cloud of creativity and imagination in a child’s mind. Let’s not tag “boredom” to be an uncomfortable feeling because children do not need to be occupied day- in and day-out and constant stimulation is way too overwhelming. Having said that, I have met many children (older ones) who say “I don’t know what to do”. The moment he says those golden words, he is bombarded with a list of ideas, classes and camps… the list goes on. But ever wondered what the child wants to do? Give him a chance while you are there to guide when needed. Of course, for those who are glued to their iPad’s and earplugs, there is good news! Create a loving boundary for the child about using those gadgets instead of restricting them or banning and then begin to work around things.
There are many examples of people who are thankful for having been given a slow childhood. They all claim that such solitude (aka boredom) fostered creativity in them and these are the people we see as artists/ writers and other creative professions. A renowned philosopher, Bertrand Russell wrote something very immense and meaningful in his book, ‘The Conquest of Happiness’ –
“A child develops best when, like a young plant, he is left undisturbed in the same soil. Too much travel, too much variety of impressions, are not good for the young, and cause them as they grow up to become incapable of enduring fruitful monotony.”