Boredom in three parts
Kids let you know when something is boring them. This morning, I was showing my 8 year old son, Jahli, those beautiful cut out paintings by Matisse. I thought he would like them. He likes art (for now).
I started talking to him about Matisse and he was on my lap and he went floppy and starting making growling noises. At that point I knew I was boring him.
You know when you are boring your children if:
They have that ‘I am really bored look’ on their faces.
They start yawning, a lot.
They go excessively floppy.
They are spinning around the room.
They are changing the subject.
They are pulling at your nose and saying ‘waka waka waka’ when they are pretty much old enough to make themselves a cup of tea.
They have walked out of the room.
When you see these signs, learning is not happening, something else is. Boredom.
I curtailed my Matisse chat and he actually went on to make a Matisse-like cut out monster. Which he decided to do on his own, only once I had left the room.
I then asked him what he wanted to do. He wanted to fry an ice cube in oil. We fried the ice cube in oil. He then wanted to fry a pancake in the ice cube water. He did. He was riveted. I have to really teach myself to say ‘yes’ when every part of my conditioned self is screaming ‘Nooooo!’ I mean who fries ice cubes?
I think that boredom is so important in the everyday-ness (if that is a word) of things. Days can be boring, if you choose them to be. Learning to cope with boredom is a huge life skill in itself. When the kids float around saying ‘I am bored’, I do my best not to fill up that bored space which they have chosen to inhabit. Because I think that they need to have that skill for themselves, the skill of being by themselves, on their own and knowing that it is o.k or actually that being alone and having absolutely nothing to do can be a great and wonderful thing. Or to let them learn that they can choose to do something about it and go and connect with someone or something.
If I feel boredom approaching, as I spend another week with the kids without much adult interaction and find that there is only so much children’s chatter I can surround myself with. I choose to make a plan, I choose to do what I am trying to teach them. Firstly to accept boredom happens, or else to do something about the fact that I am feeling bored with looking after the kids and unschooling. I plan to go out and do something, I make a boundary around my own projects, I connect with people, I go for a walk. Not every day with children is incredibly riveting, There are days where I feel frustrated and irritable. But I try my best to practice what I preach about boredom in order to be better for myself, my family and ultimately the kids. I am still a work in progress on this one though…
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