Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Summer Boredom

I’m bored.

You bored?

I’m bored.

This is the conversation my kids are currently having outside. I can hear them through my office window. I, however, am not bored. I have a pile of work on my desk that is more than a bit daunting. The house is a mess. Ben just returned from camp and promptly dumped a weeks worth of laundry downstairs.

Tomorrow? I’m going to take them to the beach. Today? I can’t.

I remember being a kid and climbing trees with my best friend. We’d sit high in our favorite Boxelder tree and talk about anything and everything. I’m sure we complained about being bored but never within earshot of our mothers for the fear we’d be put to work.

Not my boys.

They come right up to me and say, I’m bored. What am I going to do?

I have plenty of chores, is my standard response.

I don’t want to do that, is the wailing reply.

Then don’t ask me. Your rooms need cleaning, your clothes need putting away, there are piles of shoes everywhere…

OK, OK, OK! Is the typical response.

Does it mean they stop? No. It’s usually gives me about a five minute reprieve.

Why can’t these boys go climb a tree or build a fort or decide to dig to China? All the things I can remember doing, as a kid during the summer did not require one minute of my mother’s time. Out the door first thing in the morning, I came home for lunch and then back out till dinner. I knew my mother had things she wanted me to do- that’s why I stayed far away. Chores or bending over to watch a worm wiggle in the dirt? No contest in my mind.

If I repeatedly send them out, they will eventually find something to do. Jake is the best at entertaining himself. Give the boy a hose and he’s busy for an hour, spraying himself, carving deep grooves into the ground with the high-pressure spray. But when paired with either of his brothers, the ability disappears. When combined, they find things to do that require screaming “JESUS” at each other on the top of their lungs. Or worse. Rarely is it a game or activity that is about cooperation, unless you count Ben needing everyone to follow his rules.

Why can’t they just play? I know my friend and I would fight sometimes but for the most part, we were too busy doing something we thought up. Or we were thinking something up. There were times the thinking of the game was as much fun or took longer than the actual game. Like our game of “Indians.” We would decide we’d want to pretend we were Native Americans- we did not have that language at the time, mind you it was a many years ago- and the first step was to choose a tribe. We were in Upstate New York so we were quite familiar with the Iroquois Nation. Should we be Mohawk? Or Seneca? On and on we would discuss the various aspects of what our pretend world would be.

My boys? I hear them take characters from TV and start to play but then the inevitable, but they never did THAT before, comes out of one of their mouths. They can’t ad lib very well. I take that back- when they were younger they did a much better job. Now at 7, 10 and 12? They are far less willing to go outside the lines.

I know, every kid everywhere states, “I’m bored” right along with “There’s nothing to eat” in a house full of fresh fruit and vegetables. I know it’s normal and par for the course. Maybe I was an unusually creative kid and have unrealistic expectations.

Or maybe I simply want to get my work done minus the 18 per hour interruptions.

But like the vegetables I put on the dinner table, time and time again, regardless of whether they get eaten, I’m going to keep sending back outside. There will not be TV or computers or video games while the sun is shining.

Even if it means hearing JESUS screamed through the neighborhood.


Post a Comment

<< Home