Parents seem to struggle with their kids more today, or maybe it just seems that way. They are afraid to let them ride a bike to their friend’s house: it’s too dangerous these days, they say. I’m regularly chastising my young for their propensity to stay inside. They only want video games, television or movies, and the computer.
Now what kid doesn’t like pretending to be a policeman, or fireman, or a doctor–not because they get to see the elderly drop their pants to show them a mole, but because they get to wear a cool lab coat and a stethoscope.
In an effort to provide entertainment for our son, we have enrolled him in soccer and cub scouts. Yesterday, we visited a fire station. Fun, right? Firefighters were showing us their trucks, hoses, giant scissors that can cut through a car, and then all the sudden I hear a ‘portly’ young man look to his grandmother and say, “I’m bored.” My first thought was to encourage him to go home to eat another gallon of ice cream instead, but I didn’t. That would be mean. I’d never say that. No really, I wouldn’t. Honestly.
How do we cure boredom without parking them back in front of their beloved video games? I won’t leave you hanging, dear reader–I have the answer. Slavery. You see, my dad made me do chores non-stop when I was a child. I fed 28 different animals: horses, guinea hens, chickens, dogs, cats, peacocks, and rabbits. We only ate a few of our aforementioned pets: I’ll let you guess which. I moved rocks. I mowed the lawn–it was manual; we didn’t have the luxury of a powered mower. I did the dishes. I labored from dusk til dawn. And at night, I slept in the garage. Don’t worry, dad eventually added sewer and running water. Do you think I would ever DARE complain about having nothing to do? I did that……….ONCE. Have you ever mended acres of barbed wire fence? Now that is good solid entertainment. Oh, and lest we get fat, like our scouting friend, I was instructed to run two miles per day. But, what else can a 13-year old boy do? I took long hikes through the mountains with our dog, Wiley. If I was in eye shot, I must be bored and in need of entertainment.
My wife won’t help me institute slavery in our home. And she insists that the children sleep in our house and use our water and sewage. They even eat our food.
I’m sure that there must be some compromise between slavery and the modern “I’m bored without my video games” society.