A Different Way of Looking at Boredom

When someone is bored, they don’t like what they’re doing, but don’t know what else to do.

Today’s parents and teachers often feel that their kids must be engaged at all times. But by rescuing young people from their boredom every time it pokes its head above the surface, we may be denying them the chance to figure out their own boredom-relieving tactics.

Children need to understand that life isn’t always fun, that everyone gets bored occasionally—or dislikes the task at hand—and we all have to do things that we’d rather not.

In the article We Try Our Best to Avoid It, but Boredom HasIts Benefits. Today, It's a Lost Art Form, the author states: “As more and more people seem to recognize, the universal experience of being bored—unengaged, detached, afloat in some private torpor—may be far more precious, fruitful, and even profound than a surface apprehension might suggest.”

Perhaps it would be interesting to create a regular discussion group around the subject of boredom to help kids better understand it. Some possible activities follow:
  • Have students articulate their own feelings about boredom. What does it mean? Are they ever bored? If so, when? How do they handle it? Are there other ways they can handle boredom?
  • Find out how others have handled boredom. How do characters in the books they read address the subject? What about people who lived in other times?
  • Have students interview family and friends and ask them how they handle boring times. What are the similarities and differences?
  • Create a list of all the things one could do when bored in school or at home. Allow kids to be very creative with this.

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