Boredom…Let’s Talk About It
By Grant Lilly, NLA Campus Pastor
“I’m bored!” Cue the heavy sighing and whining. As a parent, how often have you heard that from your kid?
As we go into summer, avoiding boredom is at the forefront of our minds. Keeping our kids constantly entertained has become an expectation. A simple Google search and we are greeted with an endless supply of lists, tips, and tricks for how to keep our children or ourselves busy. And that’s great! But we’d like to present another option.
We live in a culture of constant stimulation where boredom is viewed as bad. We exhaust ourselves trying to fill every second of our time and our kids’ time with something, anything. Mindlessly scrolling on an Instagram feed or playing video games for hours on end are the things we often turn to. As a parent, it’s easy to put a screen in front of our kids while we are trying to get things done. We view their boredom as a bad thing, and often as a poor reflection on us as parents…but should we?
What happens when we encourage our kids to sit in that space of discomfort and grow because of it? It’s in those moments of boredom that creativity and innovation thrive. But how often do we miss out on trying new things or developing new skills because we choose mindless activities and entertainment? How often do we settle for digital dopamine hits over physical, mental, and spiritual development?
So, why say all this? Because our children have gifts and passions placed within them by God that they may never have explored. When I was younger, it was writing music and going fishing. I would have never discovered a love for these things had I not been pushed and encouraged to do something when I was bored. I still do both of these things today, and the coolest part is that I’ve been able to use those gifts to reach many people with the Gospel, create community, and develop incredible friendships!
1st Corinthians 12:4-6 offers a great reminder of the unique gifts that God has given each of us.
If you read the rest of the passage, it explains that God has given us all gifts to be used for His glory, but we might not always know what they are. There are spiritual gifts and everyday things we like to do that God can use to have a greater impact on others and ourselves. 1st Corinthians 10:31 shares, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
In times such as summer, when boredom becomes a big concern, encourage creativity as a different solution. Boredom is a choice, so help your kids take responsibility for their boredom by reminding them that they are capable of coming up with creative activity ideas. Do they love to serve others? Encourage them to do yard work for an elderly neighbor. Or how about pulling together a box full of odds and ends and letting their creativity soar with ways to use the items? Challenge them to make a comic book or unique story if they like art or writing.
Pay attention to boredom. Start recognizing where it stems from and how your child responds to it. Be involved and be invested. It’s okay to let your kids wrestle through the boredom and find their own answers. It’s also great to use that as an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with them. Encourage, explore, create, and help them discover the gifts and passions that God has given them.