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Boredom Can Lead to Initiative

Sometimes, as parents and educators, we need to step back and allow our students the room to respond constructively and make something happen.

Matt Levinson, Head of School

When I was growing up, if I ever said, “I’m bored,” my mother, a life-long artist full of creativity, would say back to me the same refrain, “Boredom is as boredom does.” That was never very gratifying for me to hear, though I took her wise words into my own approach to parenting. My kids shrug when they hear me say that, knowing the phrase’s origins. I think my kids are equally dissatisfied with the response. However, it shifts the burden of responsibility back to the person who uttered the words, “I’m bored,” and it does not let the person off the hook.

I was heartened to read the recent article, “Let Children Get Bored Again,” written by Pamela Paul, who is the editor of the New York Times Book Review. She recounts a story from Where Did You Go Bernadette?, where a mother says to her child: “The sooner you learn it’s on you to make life interesting, the better off you’ll be.”

Ms. Paul continues: “Boredom teaches you to respond constructively, to make something happen for yourself.” So, boredom can lead to initiative. Sometimes, we do need to step back as adults and allow our students the room to respond constructively and make something happen. It’s a push-pull balance for sure and we need to find the optimal tension so our students can become self-advocates, independent and resilient.

Every child is different and on their own journey, needing the support and counsel of wise, trusted adults, who take the time to understand their needs, stepping in or back at just the right time. This is the work we do--in partnership with you.

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