Monday, January 19, 2009

The Art of Boredom

Years ago a friend of mine , the mother of five or six children each about 2 years apart made the comment that sometimes she loved to sit and listen to the clock tick. We all laughed when she said it as if we all understood exactly what she meant but as the years have gone by and our lives became hectic I began to understand that statement on a completely different level.

There is something magical about listening to the clock tick. Something comforting....comfortable....calming....a music all it's own.

The fear of boredom is epidemic among my students and it spreads among them as fast as the news of the latest fight in the hallways. The kids are selling this attitude to the parents who are clamoring to keep the kids occupied with every minute of their awake time.

I used to take it as a personal insult when a student of mine would look up at me with dull eyes and state "I'm bored". The first year of teaching I worked to make activities more fun, gave them more choices, tried to keep them more involved and worried over it all. But soon I began to notice it had nothing to do with me or the activity at hand but rather the student himself. I can still remember the worst of those students who complained of boredom with a vengeance. There was something lacking in them....the ability to find contentment in the absence of entertainment, or the twiddling of fingers or ....the doodling in their minds...they lacked creativity! Now I smile as I give them my pat answer to "I'm bored." and say, "you bring that with you. It is up to you to learn how to deal with that." There is something special in the quiet moments of the day that allow you to stop and reflect on the day, or let you mind just go blank and use your eyes and ears to communicate with you or let your imagination run wild. There is nothing to be feared that is for sure.

I was sent a link recently that expresses just those ideas. I hope all you mothers, grandmothers and teachers out there will stop and read the articles linked below in the quiet moments of your day. It may help you to raise more creative, happier children.
The Blessing of Boredom (Click on Title)
And don't neglect reading this one either.
The Joy of Boredom. (Click on Title)

I hope today you find time to cherish the moments you can sit and relax while you listen to the sounds of nature, children talking in the distance, laughter.....the ticking of the clock.


  1. How I ache to be bored!
    The clock ticking is more awesome as I mature. But so is that birdsong in the moring. Or the sycamore tree (it sounds to me like it whispers to itself)

    The joy of boredome. Great phrase

  2. I love this post; we have a Grandfather clock in the living room that is an old friend... sometimes I don't hear it at all, others it is so loud I can't hear anything else around me! Clocks and maps - such wonderful things!!