September 17, 2008

Are You Bored?

I subscribed to a magazine, Ode (For Intelligent optimists). Actually, I won the subscription by watching various ads on this site Adperk. If you like reading magazines and like getting stuff for free, you should give it a go.

I had heard of Ode but never read the magazine before. I have to tell you it's pretty darn good! One article particularly caught my attention. It's called "Childhood's End" written by John
Taylor Gatto, a retired educator and current author.

In the article, he discusses student complaints about being bored and turning that around to teach kids to be leaders and adventurers. Being the mother of two kids, I come across the "I'm bored" statement continually.

My response is usually to get them doing something, anything, to teach them something (trivial, moral, or otherwise). I've even told the teen to go move rocks out of the yard--we grow a lot of rocks here in Texas--if she was bored. Usually she will find something to do when that suggestion comes up.

Gatto said, in reference to being bored, "We all are. My grandfather taught me that. One afternoon when I was 7, I complained to him of boredom, and he batted me hard on the head. He told me I was never to use that term in his presence again, that if I was bored it was my fault and no one else's. The obligation to amuse and instruct myself was entirely my own, he said, and those who didn't know that were childish people, to be avoided if possible."

His grandfather sounds a lot like my grandparents did. I like him.

I read this to my teen daughter. Then I backed it up with my own boredom lessons I pressed upon her in the past. I think she gets it now.

I never get bored. I hope my kids are never bored for very long. I think I'm pretty happy-go-lucky and can turn a bored day into something productive and educational yet fun. I hope I'm teaching them what Gatto's grandfather taught him.

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  1. Muse:

    I am absolutely positive that you are an excellent, bored-proof mommy. Just reading your articles makes me feel that you are totally devoted to the happiness of your family.

    As far as how my Queen and I handled the bored-to-death issues with our kids, we kept them so busy that there wasn't time to be bored. Between homework, piano lessons, dance lessons and after school activities, plus car washes and school trips, I wasn't even bored! In fact, when the last one finally left home, I was so tired, I nearly collapsed!

    Happy trails.

  2. Wow Swu, I barely even published and you've already commented.

    Keeping the kids busy is a good deterrent for boredom...

    Speaking of collapsing, I do that every single night of every day.

    I don't know about you, but I'm having some real blogger issues today...No paragraph division unless I do it manually with html...Crazy.

    Have a great day!

  3. Yeah, I agree with Swu that your children are quite fortunate, Muse--although I do see myself as your teen, rolling my eyes when you say, "go move rocks out of the yard"!

    Whenever my mom saw me rolling my eyes she'd say, "They're going to roll right out of your head someday."

    Haven't yet.

  4. I hate it when my teens use the boredom complaint. Of course they do little to rectify it.

    I can't imagine being bored. I don't have enough time to do all the things I want to do!

  5. Hi Conda!

    I swear my mom use to tell me that too! My teen does it and the little one has picked up on it...My response is to Tsk, put my hands on my hips, roll my eyes, and tap my toe. Boy does that annoy the both of them.

  6. Hello J.L!

    I know you could never, ever be bored.

    I wish there were more hours in the day to do all I want to do, handle the house, keep the kids on task, and whatnot...We should put together a petition to get that in motion.

  7. Hi! When kids say they're bored, that's their prompt to have us spend money on them.

    We were pretty lucky though, living out in the boom docks, our kids had a ton of friends to occupy them and plenty of bush to go fishing for trout. They'd bring home some real whoopers, unless of course, they were caught by the rangers. How I hated those rangers!

    Take Care,


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