The brilliance of boredom
“I’m bored!” – Every child that ever lived
If you’ve been a parent for long enough, you’ve heard this exclamation. From long car journeys to rainy days indoors, various situations can invoke this cry of discontent.
But here’s a truth that is important to hold in mind when responding to your child’s boredom:
Boredom is a potent catalyst for creativity and the birthplace of imagination.
When the brain enters this state of ‘boredom’ a network in your brain is ignited which is known as “the default mode”. Once you start daydreaming your mind goes beyond the conscious and starts tapping into the unconscious, this creates a unique opportunity for particular neural connections to be made.
in “the default mode” we become problem-solving, idea-connecting, life-reflecting, plan-making wizards. (you know that feeling of lying in bed and having 100 new ideas, the default mode is responsible for this)
You may be a parent like me who feels the constant pressure to provide entertainment for your child, I want my children to remember me as an available parent who wanted to spend time with them.
But if I’m available to them 100% I could be robbing them of the gift of boredom.
C.S Lewis’s older brother writes about their childhood:
“We would gaze out of our nursery window at the slanting rain and the grey skies, and there, beyond a mile or so of sodden meadow, we would see the dim high line of the Castlereagh Hills-our world’s limit, a distant land, strange and unattainable. But we alway’s had pencils, paper, chalk and paintboxes, and this recurring imprisonment gave us occasion and stimulus to develop the habit of creative imagination…”
-W.H. Lewis, 1966
If this childhood ‘imprisonment’ gave birth to the imagination that created Narnia, we may do well to learn from Lewis’ example.
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