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The Lost Benefits of Boredom

Students today are constantly stimulated with new information.  Smart phones, Smart watches, notebooks give students 24/7 access to entertainment/information/communication.  Not only is it accessible, it is pushed.  On the positive side, a great opportunity for learning and global interaction.

On the negative side, students are constantly stimulated with new information.

Even as I sit to write this blog on an early Sunday morning, I’m getting updates to emails, social media posts, march madness scores as well as my baby-daughter’s cries for attention.

But ignoring her cries is oftentimes intentional. In fact, she is the inspiration for this article.

With all this stimulation, we’ve lost the benefits of boredom. Gone are the “nothing-to-do” times which tend to spurn the best memories.  Gone are the times of adventure seeking, discovery, long term observation and reflection.  Rare are the times of bonding, sharing and memory making.

Growing up, I remember times of running through the back forests behind our house, climbing trees like Tarzan, making swings out of vines, stealing Dad’s wood to make forts. I remember my younger sibling playing out battle fantasies  whacking weeds in the fields.   I reminisce times sitting on the front porch during a summer storm watching lighting crack the sky for hours.

Boredom is not negative, lacking stimulation isn’t neglect.  Getting constantly stimulated is a passive endeavor.  The mind needs to exercise, to mull, to ponder, to create something with the information it is gathering.

I remember taking long road trips across the States, daydreaming of all the stories that could be told of the passengers in the cars passing by, and even listening to some from truckers who would entertain our questions on the CB.

Leaving my baby-girl to find her own way to entertain herself, I’m reminded of the joy of discovery, of the adventure of fantasy and the peace of controlling your own space for a while.

I watched her the other day, with a bucket on her head, feeling her way around the yard, then making her way along the back fence. curious what could possibly be going through her thoughts.

I sat down, put everything away and just watched….. Peace. 

We take weekly walks together, going nowhere, just wandering, discovering, letting curiosity guide us…. discovery.

We try to get better at keeping electronics away from the dinner table, one of the only times of the day the family is together….bonding

At EISB, we’re looking at ways to support student reflection by being more efficient with learning,  encouraging the opportunity of taking thing deeper, rather than only broader, being more productive with time.

Sometimes, stopping, is the best way to move forward. 

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