“I’m too board to eat lunch.”
“I’m too bored to clean my room.”
“I’m too bored to play outside.”
“I’m too bored to go to sleep.”
“I’m too bored I can’t even watch TV.”
Somehow my daughter has learned the word ‘bored.’ How she learned this word is beyond me, because since having children I can’t recall one moment where I have felt the sensation of boredom. Therefore I cannot possibly imagine me readily using the saying.
To be 100 per cent truthful, I would actually relish in boredom these days. But I suppose then, it wouldn’t be called boredom, would it?
But somewhere in her circle of hardcore four-year-old friends or the real ways of the neighbourhood park, little Soph has picked up the jargon.
From my recent encounters of her slurring it in my general direction, I believe she thinks the word is used as a form of excuse to get out of things. It seems to me when she is hesitant or unwilling to do something, she will tell me she is too ‘bored’ to indulge in such activity — attempting to put the onus of her discontent on me.
Well, if there is one thing I’ve learned since becoming a parent — or even a human being in the broad spectrum of things — there is always a cure for boredom.
Growing up, we never dared mumble the word bored. I’m sure this was the case in many of your childhood homes, too.
In the off chance we accidently spewed the worse-than-a-swear-word on a snowy Sunday afternoon, mere seconds later we would find ourselves shovelling our nearly one-km-long driveway by hand while Dad followed behind us on the tractor to assure we were doing a stand-up job of it.
And when it comes to physical labour, my parents’ standards are through the roof.
Say we managed to muster up the courage to nonchalantly swing the B-word out to Mother on a scorching summer afternoon. No quicker than we could say “What did you just do?!” to each other with absolute fear dripping off every word, Mama had us weeding her gratuitously large garden. Every row. Every weed.
So soon it became an unsaid rule that we simply never use the word. Ever.
Even now writing this post, I find it an extremely uncomfortable topic to talk about.
And as history and parenting somehow tend to intertwine, here I am many moons later about to implement the very same rule in my home.
The way I see it, the word bored could be considered a swearword. It would be about the only one that actually made any sense to censor yourself with. Bored is a feeling — a sentiment — that is completely changeable and duly so.
What my parents taught me, maybe without even realizing it, is that it is a shameful thing to admit to boredom.
There I was as a small child with an entire farm at my fingertips. We had small nooks to explore and dogs to chase. We had trees to climb and old decrepit sheds to tell ghost stories in. Not to mention the enchanted forest that was just beyond my back yard.
I thank the high heavens my parents did not indulge in my rants of boredom. If they had, I may never have attained the wonderful childhood memories I carry today. The looming threat of manual labour literally saved my imagination.
Only those who cannot think for themselves or brainstorm or have the ability to problem solve would confess to dullness in life. To admit boredom would be to admit defeat in day-to-day existence. And who the hell is going to do that? This life is chalk full of adventures just waiting to be discovered.
I want to show my children how to take a lame afternoon of bedroom cleaning and make it a fun-filled musical number just like our good friend Mary Poppins used to do. Or how a completely unremarkable living room set can almost immediately be turned into a fortress that houses the last remains of the dread pirate Hook’s loot.
The possibilities are endless; therefore the sheer idea of boredom is relevant to a swift kick to the psyche. And that is why my parents unintentionally banned the word ‘bored’ from mine and my brother’s vocabulary.
I intend to do the same for my children. Of course, I’m sure for the first 10 years or so they will loathe my attempts and become annoyed with the relentless drudgery.
But eventually they will get it. And eventually they will thank their notably clever mother for teaching them how to be, well, awesome. I did.
Lindsay Brown is a Sylvan Lake mother of two and freelance columnist.