When I was a middle school teacher (which is roughly tantamount to being a riverboat captain on the River Styx), I would hear with regularity this complaint from my charges: “Mister, I’m bored!” (They called any male teacher or administrator “Mister” because, I suppose, they couldn’t be bothered with actually learning to say difficult names like Strother…or Smith…or Jones.)
I heard the complaint so often that I began to make mental note of the frequent fliers of the “I’m bored” flag. What I found was this: the ones who most complained about being bored were, without exception, the most boring kids in the classroom. They lacked imagination, personality, and drive. Since those years as a teacher, I have continued to monitor the bored people. My observations have led me to this conclusion:
Bored people are boring people, and those who must be constantly entertained are themselves seldom entertaining.
Yes, that is my own assessment and I allow that it may not contain universal truth. I will, however, continue to believe it until proven wrong. These observations have motivated me to discover what innate characteristics best combat the blight of boredom. My Conclusions:
- A sense of wonder. If you have never been overwhelmed by a sunrise or moved to tears or joy by a masterful musical composition or seen the beauty in a toddler covered in mud from head to toe, then you are likely susceptible to boredom.
- An inquisitive mind. If you are one who always wants to know who, when, where, why, how…I doubt you battle boredom much, do you?
- A vivid imagination. The theater of the mind is a classic antidote for boredom.
- A voracious appetite for reading. If you are the kind who will always just wait until they make the movie, I suspect you are already bored with my ramblings anyhow. You are dismissed with my thanks. I am honored you stuck it out this long.
- A passion for invention. All of you people with patents pending place your photos here, please.
- A penchant for improvement. I put my wife in this category. She never met a recipe she couldn’t improve or a coupon she couldn’t triple.
Somehow, while putting these thoughts to paper, I was reminded of the Leanne Womack classic. (It was probably that whole “sense of wonder” thing.) I guess what I am saying is what she was singing: It’s your life; live it!