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The Blessing of Boredom

Without a doubt, summer is my favorite time of year. When I was young, my family shared a summer cabin on a lake with a few other families. Our time there was a mix of lazy days on the beach and quiet nights listening to the loons call across the lake.

When I think about the way most families live now, I wonder if my own children will ever experience a truly lazy summer, or even a lazy day for that matter. We parents are so achievement oriented, so eager to give our kids every opportunity to learn that I wonder if we're robbing them of the blessings of boredom.

There was no TV in our cabin, not even a radio that I can recall. We had no schedule to speak of, except for an occasional trip to town to buy groceries. For the most part, we hung around. And I'm sure my mom heard us complain about being bored at least once a day. But when I think back, what I remember isn't feeling bored.

It's the image of my grandmother in her Adirondack chair, drinking iced tea from a jelly jar as she watched her hoard of grandchildren play in the water. It's the scent of my mom's old blue sweatshirt as she snuggled with me next to a crackling bonfire. It's the taste of watermelon served ice cold from a metal washtub. It's the stillness of the woods I'd walk through when I couldn't think of anything else to do. In my boredom, my brain tuned in to the world around me. Within minutes, I wasn't bored anymore.

This summer, go ahead and let your kids get a little bored. Resist the urge to pack their days with lessons and teams and outings and let them create their own fun for an hour or a day or even a week. Give them the chance to discover the world God made for them. Let some air into your summer and see what happens. I promise, it'll be a summer to remember.

Carla Barnhill
Managing Editor

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