But even in a rather idyllic childhood there were (what seemed like) large stretches of boredom.
I don’t think my kids have ever truly been bored. They fast forward through commercials and watch any show or movie they like on demand.
People my age reminisce about getting up early for Saturday cartoons but my kids would never do that. It doesn’t even make sense other than as some quaint old-timey ritual because now cartoons are always on.
I loved my grandparents and I enjoyed visiting them but the time period after dinner at their house was so painfully boring I took up reading Reader’s Digest at the age of 8. That’s literally all there was to do. There seemed to be nothing on their TV and no toys to play with except for an old ukelele that belonged to my mother which was only brought out on rare occasions. I remember sitting and staring at the walls of their house for, like, 5 hours.
Now grandparents are fun and have toys and try to win over their grandkids with treats and activities. My mom has a whole basement full of more toys for my kids to play with when we visit than I had my whole life. I know this because my old toys are a part of this collection–a very small part.
School was boring too. They didn’t care what your “learning style” was. They weren’t trying to teach us in our preferred way of learning. Learning was your problem. The most thrilling thing you had to look forward to was a film strip. That’s pictures that don’t even move, folks. It’s kind of like cave drawings and it was the highlight of our week. And if you couldn’t pay attention, if there was some kind of attention deficit on your part you certainly didn’t get to take drugs. That, too, was your problem.
My kids’ schools are equipped with Promethean boards. If I had seen one of those at my elementary school I would have had no choice but to believe in magic. Teachers feel like they have failed if kids today are bored in class. I was bored in class every day of my school career.
Which is all to say, what do you think the implications on our kids will be? I know my attention span has shrunk. My capacity to wait has disappeared. I pass time–seconds, actually-checking my phone so I don’t get bored. I wonder what the effect is on kids who may never actually feel boredom.
What do you think? How will the constant stimulation play out as our kids get older?
More of my writing at Kid Scoop:
Read my blog, Every Day I Write the Book