Given that boredom is a common complaint, especially with children, this is an important question. When your children announce that they are bored, how can you respond in the way that is most helpful to them?
Often the response to an expression of boredom would be, “Well, go find something to do!” But this response is not productive because it does not provide any positive direction. It is important to ask whether it is wrong to be bored.
Let’s attempt to answer this question from a positive perspective. Here are three points to consider:
- The Holy Spirit commands that everything you do should be done for the glory and wonder of God with a thankful heart! This is a general command that applies to all of your life. See I Corinthians 10:31 and Colossians 3:17.
- God has prepared specific tasks for you to do so that you can do all things for his glory. See Ephesians 2:10.
- God knows you more intimately than you know yourself. He is always with you. This means that every thought and activity is taking place in his presence. See Psalm 139:1-16.
When we combine these three truths the issue of boredom is put into proper perspective. God has prepared good works for his people to accomplish. Ephesians does not rank the importance of these works but rather affirms Paul’s teaching that everything that we do is to be done with a grateful heart to the glory of God.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines boredom this way: To make weary by being dull, repetitive, or tedious.
According to this definition, being bored stands in as a direct challenge to the commands of God. There is nothing that is dull or tedious about honoring God! Paul is telling us that everything we do, whether in thought, word, or deed, is an opportunity to bring honor and glory to God. So being bored means that there is no perceived excitement about conforming to the will of God. Thus being bored is not a desirable or honorable state of mind.
Parents, the obvious reality is that if you want your children to avoid boredom, you must avoid it yourself. How is this accomplished? You must begin each day believing that Ephesians 2:10 is true. God has prepared opportunities for each of us that will bring honor to him! This is not a difficult thing to imagine. Your daily occupation: working in the home, the workplace or the school room or whatever good endeavor that God has called you to do are part of the good works that God has prepared for you. Building relationships in ways that are consistent with loving God and your neighbor also fall under the range of this passage. Even recreation and play-time for children are to be considered part of the good works that God has planned.
Here is a simple plan to avoid boredom. Make a list of all the things that you and family can do that are consistent with what was laid out in the above paragraph and divide the list into those same categories. Put this list on your computer, put it on posters, on your refrigerator, on your mirrors and anywhere else you can think of. Make a specific list for each member of your family. Then when you or your children are tempted with boredom, go to the things that God has prepared for you and start working on what you have written down. The items on your lists should be more than just ordinary tasks. Write down your dreams as well.
Pray with your children with gratitude for all of the things that God has given you to accomplish. This is how you attack boredom and begin living a full life for the glory of God.