The Suitcase Lady


January 27, 2015, 9:01 pm

There are two words no child should ever say to me. Those words are “I’m bored”.

I have occasionally even given kids a peremptory warning: “Don’t tell me you’re bored because you won’t like what I will tell you.”

When a young person does whine, “I’m bored”, I simply tell the truth. “Only boring people get bored.”

That reply can shock an entire classroom into momentary silence. Seldom do adults speak concisely and directly to kids in today’s politically correct world. “Have you made a good choice?” or “What can I do to help you?” are more commonly heard reactions to rotten behavior. I do not wish to be a character out of Lemony Snickett, but I don’t want to be an enabler, either. I am not responsible for anyone’s boredom.

So it was with great interest that I read a review of the book, A Country Called Childhood, by Jay Griffiths. Here is an excerpt by the New York Time’s reviewer, Andrew Solomon:

Griffiths points out that the word “bored” appeared only after 1750, in the beginning of the capitalistic age, and that Dickens coined the word “boredom”. “Children reared on toys and products provided by corporations are learning a terrible lesson: They are learning that they have a scarcity within, that they cannot provide for their own play, or rely on their imagination, that they are impoverished beggars of the entertainment industry.” She explains, “If children can’t pretend, they are condemned to someone else’s reality.” This, in turn, leads to children who become “the possessions of their possessions.” She describes manufacturers as “privatizers of the commons of dream” and says that “consumerism for children is a form of cultural pedophilia.”

Nature has generously provided all of us (both young and old) with the resources to stave off boredom. Look within, not in your wallet for a credit card.

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