Bored

I love to be bored.

I said those words to a group of fellow students. That was when I was in graduate school and I hadn’t lived in the US for very long. My colleagues gave me a look that made me truly realize that I was in a foreign country and they knew it too. I was definitely not from here.

If you did take a moment to pause, you did something very important. You expressed freedom of choice.

Let’s face it. Rarely does anybody else ask you to pause. Except if you’re an workaholic. Then your partner might, but probably not your boss.

The thing with freedom is that nobody can give it to you.

The only thing you can do with freedom is …

… express it.

We are so habituated to moving from one thing to the next that our entire life feels like a string of obligations.

And we loose our true sense of freedom.

I know that happens to me.

And that compressed life let’s us forget that we are free to make choices, that that freedom hardly ever really depends on others. And it is therefore ours to express.

And only in expressing freedom can we really gain a sense of what freedom feels like.

A bit scary, I know.

Few people will approve.

But the good ones will.

I also think this has to be true freedom. Not a new form of enforcement.

Not:

  • giving up sugar
  • eating less fat
  • eating more fat
  • driving less
  • more recycling
  • more exercise
  • more meditation
  • more reading of books
  • giving up meat
  • giving up grain

All these things can be the right thing for someone. But if you have to follow a program, or follow a book (I’m looking at you Whole30), then it’s not freedom. It’s a new form of coercion.

As a parent, giving our kids a sense of freedom also starts with us.

Doesn’t it always?

and,

Don’t you hate that?

But it does.

If you desire freedom for your child, you have to find ways to express freedom for yourself.

And the more you can express freedom for yourself, the more you will enjoy it when your child does.

This is usually the place where you get a hint, a suggestion.

Start here!

Wouldn’t that be ironic though.

I trust you know.

I really do.

Ok. Here’s an idea.

Let yourself get totally bored one day.

Not the boredom you feel when you’re doing boring games with your kids. Or when you’re reading that bloody series of books on the Rainbow Fairies one more time.

Oh no. It’s Jack Frost, she gasped.

That’s not what I’m referring to.

Or maybe it is. When you’re in the park with them, and really, you. are. too. bored.

Let yourself really feel it.

Don’t feel guilty about it. We’ve all been there and we all revisit it on a regular basis.

Get bored, and then ask yourself what would make it better.

That’s what I did when I ran with the boys in the Fall. They wanted to go to a play structure, and at first I said ok. But then I would get terribly bored. So I took them to the forest, the creek, the beach. Anywhere but the playground.

I did it because I was bored.

And then I noticed that the boys played better with each other. I wrote about that in several chapters of my book.

You see.

That’s the way it goes.

You fix your boredom, and your kids are better off.

You express your freedom, and your kids are better off.

I hope someone is delighted today when you express your freedom,

Niels