Dearest children, you don’t know bored.
It’s a conversation we simply must have, because I’m quite concerned. You see, it seems that you believe that you have inadequate options for your amusement. The TV, iPad, Switch, Xbox, toys and books that we’ve provided aren’t enough, because you’re “bored”.
Well, I’ve got news for you kids, you don’t know the meaning of bored.
Not even a little bit! Allow me to explain.
See, my generation grew up before we had the internet. I mean, in theory it existed, but none of us kids knew anything about it. Computers were a thing though, and lucky kids were graced with a single big bulky gray computer for the whole family to share.
It was mostly useless to us with its cryptic green codes flashing on the black screen, but we loved our Minesweeper. It was a simple game where you would click a square and hope you wouldn’t blow up.
It was far from riveting, and just about everyone was awful at it, but in my day that game was all we had, and we cherished our small luxuries.
Back in the dark ages we not only lived our lives internet free, but we had to watch whatever show was on.
Like actual live TV. Crazy, right?!
We couldn’t fathom the idea of on demand streaming services, let alone watching anything commercial free.
Especially since those commercial breaks played an important role in preventing bladder infections. With no pause or rewind, you didn’t dare miss a moment of the latest Full House episode.
Would Danny forgive Stephanie for sneaking out to the make out party? Probably, but you weren’t going to risk missing it.
You squeezed your pee break into that two-minute window all the while crossing your fingers that no one in your family would change the channel.
And that’s the other thing, in my day parents didn’t really have to limit screen time.
By default, the TV did most of that. Kids had no interest in daytime TV with its steady stream of soaps, home shopping, and nature specials.
You want to talk about boring? Try being eight and watching an hour-long documentary about the feeding habits of blowfish. Now that’s boring!
When you were unfortunate enough to have to stay home sick, you’d make sure to catch the Price is Right for the shiny cars and fancy music.
It was the only thing worth watching, and as a plus, you learned the value of a dollar.
For thirty minutes you’d be transfixed by the combination of college students and seniors jumping and squealing like kids on a sugar high, but by 11am you were left to your own devices and watching the clock tick by.
The prime-time TV selection was decent, but we held no claim to the remote.
The parents called dibs and to our dismay that usually meant basketball games, 90210, and the news. We were at their mercy and though we begged them to change the channel, it seldom worked.
The truth is, we just didn’t have much to do with technology.
We loved Saturday morning cartoons and playing a game of Sonic on the Sega, but most of our days were spent running the roads with the neighborhood kids.
Our best moments were born out of pure boredom.
An overpriced lemonade stand on a hot summer day and epic games of hide and seek around the block. Choreographed dances to the latest Spice Girls and BSB hits blaring from a shiny metallic blue cd player. Snow forts that challenged the laws of physics and defied reasonable safety standards.
Moments like that were our bread and butter!
Compared to you, we had every reason to be bored, and at times we were, but most of the time we just found the fun.
We made excitement ourselves with creativity and good old-fashioned imagination.
So my dear children, you don’t have a sweet clue what bored is, but it’s probably time you learn, because it’s not so bad.
In fact, as much as it drives me nuts listening to you whine about it—as much as the mere word spurns a great desire in me to rant on with an “In my day…” speech, I will try to resist.
And I’ll hold back the urge to entertain you with a quick fix, because boredom is where you find the fun. It’s where the memories are made.
In fact, you should be so lucky to be bored.