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Bored Kids and Guilty Parents

photo-5 copyThe flowers have all wilted because all the kids are bored. The crops are infested with boll weevils because all the kids are bored. Sleeper cells of terrorists carry out devious plots because all the kids are bored. The cows’ udders provide no milk. Damaged DNA creates cancerous cells. Elderly people shoplift chewing gum. Your knee hurts. Because all the kids are bored. Dopamine does not flood the pleasure pathway because all the kids are bored. No chakras are in line because all the kids are bored. The human condition continues to be characterized by sickness, old age, and death because all the kids are bored. Cities sprawl. Widows wail. Lots of people go to jail. Because all the kids, everywhere, are bored bored bored.

Have we perhaps succumbed to hyperbole regarding the consequences of the kids being bored?

It doesn’t matter because all the parents feel guilty. The kids are bored and the parents feel guilty. The kids have ADHD and peanut allergies; the parents feel guilty. The kids, when they were babies, drank formula instead of the sweet elixir of breast ambrosia and the parents feel guilty. The kids are subjected to reified gender roles and the parents feel guilty. The kids are redefining relationships via social media and the parents feel guilty. The boys are circumcised, or not, and the parents feel guilty. The girls are bombarded by photoshopped images of beautiful monsters and the parents feel guilty. The kids are not satiated by 1000 forms of entertainment and the parents feel guilty.

The kids are bored, man, and the parents scour the bookstores and Pinterest boards in search for what the parenting experts do—the good parents who fall asleep at night in the magical ambien of a clean conscience, those parents of the vigorous children who thrive in the exulted liveliness of their own industry. The parents study the books. Employ the methods. They make well-intentioned attempts to engage the bored children with the many and varied stimulating projects that are easy and fun for everyone, and inexpensive.

The kids turn to dust. The parents are the last to be picked.

The issue of bored kids and guilty parents is primarily a product of the assumption that life is a constant carnival of big fun and a parent is a kind of circus performer who maintains a steady flow of crazy good times for the happy child. There are also huge corporate interests in the maintenance of our discontent to keep us in the business of throwing money at it.

A potentially instant remedy for the issue of bored kids and guilty parents is simply recognizing how disgusting the assumption is that makes these experiences possible. Big fun is not a fact of life; it’s the end goal of a decadent culture. Further, something guilty parents might reflect upon is the extent to which they may have an exaggerated sense of their influence on the tendency of their children to be happy or unhappy. Maybe who your kids are isn’t all about you; it’s possible that you need a hobby. And, lastly, a solution for the bored kid is quite possibly just leaving them alone. Let them be bored. Let their boredom bore through them until maybe—just maybe—on the edge of breathing their last breath, finally dying of boredom, something unexpected can be born, something interesting.
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