Brett Klika C.S.C.S
“I’M BORED!” At about 10 years old, I had heard the phrase from my friends. The word didn’t really exist in my house. It seemed there was always something going on and my brother and I were always involved.
I decided to try the phrase out on a mid-day summer respite from the whiffle ball world series and playing “pro wrestling” with my little brother (whether he wanted to or not). “Mom, “I’m BORED”. My mom halted her “one man band” of domestic management for a moment. One hand in the sink, the other tending the stove, and her feet somehow mopping the floor. “Well I am SO sorry. Let’s see what we can do about that!”
By about 9 p.m. I had pulled my last weed, organized and put away my last Lego, and swept my last floor. In the 7 hours I was occupied, I only got through about 1/4 of the list my mom had set out. “The rest,” she said, “Is for the next time you get bored”. I can honestly say I haven’t been bored since.
Young children need constant stimulation of some sort and it falls into our lap as adults to provide it. We need to create enriching, fun experiences that not only give them something to do, but aid in their mental, emotional, and physical development. Furthermore, we need to guide them in developing an ability to enrich their own lives independently.
While kids are in school and sports, the amount of time left over to fill with these epic adventures is limited. Then the long days of summer hit. No school, varied sports schedule, and a lot of time to be accounted for. There are only so many camps, trips to the beach, and strolls through the zoo a sane parent can handle.
During the doldrums between these activities, it’s difficult to find a “system” to keep kids entertained. Unfortunately, passive technology has provided a quick easy fix to this problem. Videos, TV shows, and video games keep kids “out of site, out of mind”. As long as they are plugged in, we don’t have to hear the fingernails-on-chalkboard-like “I’M BORED”.
As we are discovering however, plugging our kids in is delivering poor results when it comes to their health and wellness. Additionally, it is molding the way they think, focus, and occupy their idle time. God forbid kids would have to make up a game, use their imagination, or…DO SOME CHORES!!!!!
There is a danger in raising a generation that believes they are entitled to non-stop entertainment from an external source. Where do problem solving, innovation, and self-efficacy come from in a culture of “someone else make this interesting for me”. Kids that are allowed to be bored turn into adults that are bored. Bored adults are societal dead weight.
On one of my recent travels I was talking to a parent from Canada and they had come up with a great solution for the “I’M BORED” problem. On tiny slips of paper, they write down dozens of different activities. These range from coloring, playing a game, doing an exercise, or even household chores. If their kids get bored, they go pick a piece of paper out of the jar. Enjoyable or not, they have to do what’s on the paper.
The other options are either to entertain themselves (imagination, creativity, no technology, etc.) or tell mom and dad how bored they are and get a list of chores. The parent I spoke to said they literally haven’t heard the phrase “I’M BORED” since they implemented the exercise two years ago.
The above still provides guidance but teaches the children a sense of self-efficacy and independence. It’s not punitive in nature, the kids actually like the “lottery” idea. Even the chores are embraced as part of the game. The kids aren’t plugged in and they stay active. They learn that there is always something to do if you want there to be.
If you are a parent challenged with all of the above, I’ve created an easy list for you. You can just cut these up and put them in a fishbowl. Obviously, there are some age-appropriate concerns.
You may notice I don’t have anything for high school kids. If your high-schooler is bored, they need to get a job. They don’t want to? Car, gas, spending money, gone. You want them to be successful don’t you? Does anyone “hand” you success?
I picked weeds for old ladies at our church starting at 13. I hated it more than anything and learned that if I wanted a job I liked, I’d have to curb my life decisions in the right direction.
Here is a list of activities for your “bored” bowl. Feel free to customize to your family. Don’t plug your kids in. Provide guidance so they realize that there are always worthwhile pursuits. Empower. Don’t enable learned helplessness. Contribute to molding a future of happy, healthy, pain free leaders that are stewards of the values that have made our country GREAT.
For more information and video on exercises, programs, and any other information on losing fat and creating the body you have always wanted, check out The Underground Workout Manual – Exercise and Fat Loss in the Real World at www.undergroundworkoutmanual.com.
Brett Klika C.S.C.S., Director of Athletics at Fitness Quest 10, is a world renowned human performance specialist, motivational speaker, author, and educator. In his 14 year career, Brett has accrued more than 20,000 hours of training with youth, athletes, executives, and every day people. He uses this knowledge and experience to motivate individuals and audiences around the world through his writing, speaking, DVD’s, and personal correspondence.