While taking just a few minutes to peruse Facebook this morning, I’m saddened to read posts about kids being destructive to others’ property out of sheer boredom this summer.
So, I only have one young one, so I haven’t entered the “Mom, I’m borrrreeeeeddddddd!” syndrome yet uttered from kids’ mouths who are already bored out of their goards this summer. I don’t quite understand how they can be so bored already.
“Back in my day” (don’t you get tired of hearing that? LOL!) in the summer time, my sister and I always had plenty to do, my Mom saw to that. We had chores around the house, books to be read, VBS (Vacation Bible School), work in the yard with Dad, pool time & swim lessons, errands with Mom, choir tour & church camp, and trips to visit family. Honestly, there wasn’t time to be bored. If we even gave a hint of naughtiness, we’d have to deal with Dad when he got home and we did NOT want that so we found things to keep us occupied. Of course, we had our friends to spend the night, ride bikes, play outside and just plain ‘ole creativity because video games weren’t quite the rage they are today and smart phones weren’t invented yet.
My point is that we had plenty of constructive activity to keep our brains engaged and our boredom to a minimum. There wasn’t much time to lounge around and be lazy. We were up at a decent time every morning (My Dad saw to that!) to accomplish our work and errands in the cool of the day, fun was reserved for later in the day. My Mom had us learn at an early age how to clean the house (I’m talking vacuuming, mopping floors, cleaning bathrooms and the like). I’m sure our Mom heard her share of complaints but we learned life lessons of how to work hard, the value of work, as well as earning and saving money since my parents opened savings accounts for us so we could watch our money grow and earn interest.
I hate to admit it, but I believe the downfall in negative behavior due to boredom with school age children lies largely with the parents. Children of this age are old enough to take on responsibility such as a job to earn money for the things they want. Okay, soap box moment: I heard once of a child who wanted his Mom to go back to work so (the kids) could have more money to do and have fun things. WHAT?! I’m sorry, but that is WHACK! Soap box rant over. There are plenty of jobs for kids such as a paper route, babysitting, life-guarding, pet sitting, and lawn mowing are just a few ideas. Learning age old skills such as knitting, crocheting, sewing, and the like are true talents that will serve our kids well. With Pinterest there are plenty of crafty ideas to inspire young minds to be creative, sell their wares and earn money for trips, toiletries, camps, gas, etc.
I believe these simple acts of keeping active minds busy will go a long way toward eradicating the sense of entitlement so many children and teenagers subscribe to. I think the Bible has some things to say along these lines as well:
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Through laziness, the rafters sag; because of idle hands, the house leaks.
2 Thessalonians 3:11
We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.
1 Timothy 5:13
Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to.
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,…
Call me crazy, but aren’t we raising our children to be adults? On more than one occasion, I have conversed with an adult whose mission is to be the fun, hip parent; they desire to be a friend to their child rather than do the hard work of a parent. They want to be liked, and to them, the approval they seek from their kids trumps the calling on our lives to be parents.
My question to these fine people is: how are you going to equip your child(ren) for the real world when your goal is to be the “cool parent,” the one who dresses immodestly, the one who never disciplines much less sets curfews, or helps them learn life lessons that will prepare them for college and living on their own one day. And most importantly, life preparation without you as their parent, for this is probably the biggest life lesson to be learned. Grooming our children to stand on their own two feet, earning and saving money, value of hard work, cleanliness and learning how to clean house properly are all becoming such a lost art. Break the cycle and do the hard work that goes into parenting and preparing your child to fly the nest, hopefully well before they’re 20.