A Message from an Old Guy to Young Parents

I’m an old guy now.


Not really — at least I don’t think so — but to some.

My kids are grown. Out of the house.

Recently, we were having a meeting about church activities and a young man said, “We should get some of the older people in the church involved.”

He meant people my age. I guess “older” isn’t old, but it certainly felt that way at the time.

But, us old guys have learned a few things. And, so here is a word from the old guy.

To parents. Parents who are younger. With younger children.

Here goes…

It’s okay for your child to be bored.

There. I said it. See how old I am?

It’s okay for some time to pass where your children has nothing to do. Where they have no toys — or electronics — nothing to entertain them.

It’s okay for your child to be occasionally bored. It won’t hurt them. It might help them.

I’m a people watcher. It doesn’t seem some parents know this. The children are always being entertained. In the restaurant they have your phone — or their own phone. In the car they have a video rolling. In the store they are often being occupied by something electronic.

They never seem to be bored. If they get bored it seems most of you scramble for a way to quickly entertain them.

And what I’m suggesting is that it’s good for your child to be bored.

Really, it is.

There will be days — when they aren’t ‘being entertained all the time — they might play with sticks. Get their hands dirty. Or, they might just create something new. They could invent a new game. Expand their imagination.

And, in high school — college — in their first job — they’ll get bored. It’s okay. They’ll know what to do — and what not to do — when that occurs.

Don’t misunderstand. Exposing your children to exciting things is fun. The Disney experience can be magical. Enjoy it. I encourage you too if you can, but you don’t have to try to maintain that level of excitement when you come home. It makes Disney even less magical.  Occasionally let them be bored. That’s all I’m suggesting.

And, the old guy spoke.

I know — none of my business. And, you can dismiss it as quickly as it took you to read.

But, for some of you — maybe just one — trust me in this.

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10 thoughts on “A Message from an Old Guy to Young Parents

  1. This is a terrible idea. It will lead to the use of their imaginations, problem solving, and independent thinking! They might even interact with us as human beings. We can't have that. We MUST fill the void. 😉

  2. Thanks for speaking up for us old guys, Ron.

    Not only is it "okay" for children to be bored, it is imperative if they are to develop a rich interior life. The net effect (some may argue that it's the purpose) of entertainment overload is to deprive youngsters (and oldsters) an opportunity to think deeply, biblically and critically about the "big questions."

    This is off on another rabbit trail, but I wonder if there's a cause and effect relationship between the Millennials being the first generation of adults reared in the electronic world and their impatience for careful thinking about homosexual marriage? Or their readiness to flee the scene the moment a church becomes "boring"?

  3. Great reminder. Reminds me of what C.S. Lewis said about his childhood:
    "And in the days, when he was out, I entered with complete satisfaction into a deeper solitude than I had ever known. The empty house, the empty, silent rooms, were like a refreshing bath after the crowed noise of Campbell. I could read, write, and draw to my heart’s content."
    – C.S. Lewis, Surprised By Joy (New York: Harcourt, Inc., 1955), 54.

  4. Fabulous, thank you!

    Our kids are all in their late 20s and early 30s, two with their own kidlets.

    Wish I had a buck for every time I said some variation on “I’m your dad, not your source of entertainment”.