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Bunmi Laditan Headshot

Dear Kids: It's OK to Be Bored

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BORED
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Dear Children,

There is something that has been heavy on my heart for a while that I would like to discuss with you. Summer is upon us and it didn't take long for one of you to say those two fateful words: "I'm bored."

My sweet darlings, the fruit of my womb, I need to explain something to you.

You are bored. You are not sick. You are not a victim of misfortune. You are not undergoing great tragedy nor are you in the midst of personal crisis.

The discomfort you are experiencing is what previous generations referred to as, "a state of rest." Boredom is an opportunity for something called, "free play." Are you following, dear ones?

Sweet babies whom I love with all of my heart, you are human children with fully functional imaginations, and I'm going to need you to use them.

This may come as a surprise, but when mommy was a little girl, iTunes did not exist, nor did I have an iPad. Yes, I had a TV but due to our, how do I say this... less than abundant family finances, we had about 10 channels on a clear day. While some of my friends enjoyed Nickelodeon, I had PBS and spent many an afternoon watching Leave It to Beaver, Perry Mason, and The Untouchables in the original black and white. Our little TV's reception was controlled by a wire hanger twisted around a screw in the back. So when you tell me that you're bored and can't even find something to watch when we have upwards of 200 channels, I'm going to have to call BS. BS stands for Bull Snotty.

Being "bored" means that no one, or more importantly, no devices, are stimulating your mind and you are free to come up with your own entertainment or sit in contemplative silence.

Boredom is not a problem to be solved. It is an itch to scratch. Boredom is the dawn of ideas. Boredom is curiosity knocking gently at your mind, asking to play.

Being bored is like sitting in front of a blank canvas. Boredom is infinite possibility. You are the captain of your own ship and before you lies an expanse of dark blue ocean and clear skies.

When you come to me with your boredom, please know that I won't be angry. You're still a young sailor and unfamiliar with your tools. As your parent, I will help guide you but I will not steer your ship. Did you hear me?

I will not steer your ship.

I will not steer your ship.

I will not steer your ship.

I will be your temporary compass.

Ready? All aboard, mateys!

Cast your eyes over to the Isle of the Craft Closet. Legend says that it is rich with jewel-toned markers and scissors so sharp that they can slice through the toughest construction paper man has ever known.

Or I can point you in the direction of the Jungle of Doom, also known as our backyard. Sages speak of grass green as emeralds and a sand pit speckled with dollar store shovels.

If neither of those tickle your fancy, enter if you dare the Cavern of Broken Toys. Your bedroom is upstairs.

Still bored? Join me, Mistress Pirate of the Maiden Vessel as I swab the deck.

I didn't think so. Well then, in the words of Awolnation: SAIL.

Bunmi is the author of The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting. This is a parenting humor book for LOLs.

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