Word by Word

Creating myself one word at a time.

Boredom quote

Boredom quoteThere was one phrase my sister and I used as children that would make my mom crazy.

“Mom, I’m bored.”

Seriously, she’d go through the roof. Her problem with the phrase? As a child, I had no idea what her problem was. I mean, all my toys were played with. There were no friends around. I was only allowed an hour of TV a day.

As an adult and mother, well I get it now. Let’s list the myriad things around a house that always need to be done. Cleaning, laundry, cooking, cleaning, laundry, cleaning. I know I listed things more than once, but it feels like they are always there. Always there! Not to mention all of the fun things a parent would like to do if they could ever get through the aforementioned list. It is infuriating to hear a child say they are bored when all you wish you could do is sit in a quiet room and read a book. Is that so much to ask for? I think not!

Sorry, I’m getting sidetracked. The other day I was sitting in a class and the topic of conversation was modern entertainment and amusement. The class was asked to focus on the types of entertainment that we spend most of our time consuming. Eventually, we discussed whether modern generations have an expectation of amusement and entertainment. I wouldn’t even hesitate to answer that question with a hearty “yes.”

The word “boredom” wasn’t even introduced until 1852 by Charles Dickens in the novel “Bleak House.” Prior to this, the word “bore” was used, but not boredom. There was a French word used to describe something akin to boredom, ennui. This word was in use as early as 1732, but the meaning is more concerned with a feeling of weariness or dissatisfaction and that is very different, in my opinion, than boredom.

So, what creates boredom for people? It is the “restless through lack of interest” part of the definition that is key to me. Are the modern generations just less interested in things in general? Less curious? Or, as we age, do we lose our sense of curiosity and wonderment?

How sad if this were the case. The whole conversation got me to thinking about how I raise my own children. How can I encourage my own kids to care about things and to go deeper than the surface level?

I’d love to hear from others on this topic? Do you agree that modern society, as a whole, is bored from a lack of interest in the world around them?

9 thoughts on “Mom, I’m bored

  1. I wish I had a good answer for you. My son tells me he’s bored all the time. I stare around at all the toys, books, drawing materials, playset outside…. I try to tell him that there is so much to do, make a fort, play with our ferret, draw a picture, legos, do a puzzle, help me clean the house. He comes back that “he’s bored.” All he wants to do is play on the computer on this player vs player game and I limit that time because he could be lost for hours.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Elyse! What is it about things with a screen that can just suck the kids (and us) in?

  2. My brother used to tell me there is no such thing as boring things. There’s boring people. I actually tell this to my h.s. students who don’t really get it. They will some day.

    1. I like that. No boring things, just boring people. I may have to use that on my 14 year-old.

      1. Let me know how it goes.

  3. Your ol' Aunt Caryn says:

    Maybe it is just that we are more interested in what can be done for us than what we can do for others or for ourselves. I think often the source of boredom in my home is when certain precious darlings are looking for someone/something to entertain THEM! :Maybe it there isn’t a lack of interest in the world around us, but a lack of looking outside ourselves – for wonder at the world around us, for the “how this work?” as Sam used to say, and because we don’t look for someplace we can make a difference. That’s what I’ve been thinking about lately.

    PS If mine say they are bored, they have to clean their drawers out. Their drawers rarely get cleaned, but it stops the complaints.

    1. I love that perspective, Caryn. Looking outside ourselves. I, too , have started assigning chores when I hear the word bored. I have become my mother!

      1. Aunt Caryn says:

        Mirror, mirror on the wall
        I am my mother after all! – Laurie Locke

      2. Hahaha! I know! Next thing you know I’ll be finding Christmas gifts in April.

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