TO END BOREDOM
or the last few days I’ve been reflecting about the differences between today’s children and children of yesteryear, when I realized that the one thing we never said to our parents was “I’m bored!” It wouldn’t have mattered much if we had. Those were different times, and to be quite honest, our version of making such a statement was sitting in front of the television for hours at a time. In the summer, this lack of activity could go on for days, and it was then that my mother’s frustration with our laziness would kick in. We’d be laying on the sofa, watching the umpteenth episode of the same show and all of a sudden she’d turn off the TV and yell for us to get up and get to work: “ya levántense, pongánse a limpiar la sala, vayánse a limpiar el cuarto, vayan a limpiar el patio, o salgan a jugar afuera… no los quiero ver tirados en el sofa.” Unlike me, though, my son Edgar has no problem telling me how bored he is. His incessant repeating of this statement often sounds like a broken record, and while in a lot of ways my parenting style is very similar to that of mis padres, hearing those two words gets me thinking of what we could be doing to entertain him.
It’s not that I don’t want him to relax, but much like my mother, the sense of urgency is that every time I look at him he’s getting bigger, smarter, learning more, establishing his own habits, and my fear is that in some way the act of just letting him spend days like this won’t prepare him for the reality of life – the difficulty of what is yet to come in his own journey. My recipe for preparing him for the future is very similar to my parents’, who’s solution to the hours spent in front of the TV was to send us to work with my father in his truck. It wasn’t a difficult or strenuous job, but it did help us understand just how hard our parents had to work to put food on the table and a roof over our heads.
Juan Alanis is the founder and editor of the award winning blog JuanofWords.com, a Hispanic lifestyle blog that has been widely featured across the worldwide web. Juan lives in south Texas with his wife and son. Juan Alanis es el fundador y editor del galardonado blog JuanofWords.com, un blog sobre el estilo de vida hispano que ha sido ampliamente destacado en Internet. Juan vive en el sur de Texas con su esposa e hijo.
34 PLAZA FAMILIA | february • febrero 2012
That’s why, on days when Edgar tells me he’s bored we’ll go outside and clean the yard together, he’ll have to clean his room, I’ll make him help me clean out the truck, or we’ll find something else, equally lesson-worthy, to do so that he can appreciate the value of hard work. Though being the sweet kid he is, sometimes he’ll come up with his own solution. “Come on, can we go for a walk? Let’s go ride a bike. I want to do something, me and you.” How can anyone resist that?
Photographs: Left: ©istock.com/bowdenimages. Right: ©istock.com/andresr. Sport image: ©istock.com/mphillips007