Wednesday, October 10, 2001

 
Interesting...the word boredom wasn't coined until the latter half of the 19th century. Julia Keller of the Chicago Tribune writes a little article on boredom. In it she quotes Patricia Meyer Spacks, the author of a history of boredom (bet that's a riveting book ;-):

As she wrote in her history of boredom, "The world that did not know boredom as boredom would necessarily have been one whose inhabitants believed in, lived by, a notion of personal responsibility."

The planet didn't owe us a good time. The universe didn't really care if we were having fun.


Working as I do, with teens who come from several generations of welfare dependency, I can tell you that one of the by products of multi-generational welfare dependency is b-o-r-e-d-o-m. And the bored kids that I work with do not believe in, nor do they live by any notion of personal responsibility -- they really believe that the planet owes them a good time.

Now I know that this problem of boredom crosses socioeconomic lines and ventures out into the suburbs as well, but it seems that middle to upper-middle class suburban kids are more insulated from the consequences of their boredom and the resulting lack of personal responsibility.

In our ministry, we've found, however, that providing entertainment is not the way to cure boredom and instill personal responsibility. Instead, helping kids to persevere through boredom, often by employing the dangling carrot, is what actually engages kids and begins to assist them in developing personal responsibility.

Boredom is a perspective, and if you think that life owes you something, you're going to sit back and watch things parade by you, vying for your attention. If nothing does the job, you'll cry, "BORING," and be done with it. If your perspective on life requires you to be engaged and attentive and active, you'll not be bored so easily. If you're called to have dominion over the earth and to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, you'll not have much time to be bored.

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