“I’m bored, text me.”
This phrase appears countless millions of times per minute on social media sites, written by young people of all ages. I once read the quote, “Boredom is the scream of an unfed mind.” I concur.
In this information age, the wonders of our world have never been more accessible. I could not have imagined sitting at home and having video at my fingertips where I could watch anything at all just by typing it into a search.
But kids now are bored. Texting nonsense night and day, they are resorting to taking naked photos of themselves and sending it around just for kicks. Or they play the potentially fatal “choking game” to stave off boredom. It’s really come to that.
A hobby or interest is one thing often missing in the minds of this generation of techno-jaded kids. Ironically, in this age of so much, there is very little real passion—the kind of passion that encourages study and learning and that is fueled by intellectual curiosity.
So how do we fuel it in our children? My own belief is that the less media the better in the preschool years. Lots and lots of reading. Lots of free play. Lots of good music and a happy home life where children have the bedrock security upon which to build their emotional life. Exposing kids to as many good things as possible is important. Whether it’s an airshow or a concert or an art museum or a political gathering, somewhere in there, your child may find something to interest them.
Parents’ interests also influence. It is obvious that Tom has directly influenced William and his passion for good music. I also used to play music to all my babies before they were even born. (Will probably knew Frühlingsstimmen and Bruckner’s 8th by heart before he was even born.) Charlie also must have a lot of opera somewhere in his subconscious as I was going through the Wagner Ring Cycle before he was born! You don’t need long hair music to stimulate a child with music, though. I played folk songs on the piano many times while the little ones jumped and danced around. Will and Mary made a circuit through the house when I’d play the theme from Thomas the Tank Engine on the piano.Sam has been up to his eyeballs in books from little on up. Maybe I had a little to do with that interest.
It is a beautiful thing to see a child find his or her passion. Then, all you have to do is step back and watch. The child takes it from there. As parents, I liken it to setting a buffet for our kids. We lay out things that may interest them, and it ultimately is up to them to pick something up.
Will has been assembling a Hauptwerk organ in the basement. Several parts go together, and they have been arriving one at a time. Yesterday, he was excited to see the keyboards arrive. He disappeared into the basement with various cables and things. I didn’t see him for several hours.
By evening, he had most of the parts put together. He came up to find me. “Come hear some hymns, Mom,” he said.
I sat holding a sleepy Emmy (she is almost too big to hold now) while our son began to play. Silent Night, and Away in the Manger came first. Then he played Holy, Holy, Holy, and finished off with something lovely by Edward Elgar. Tears came to my eyes that in this world so full of evil, God still gives us such beauty. And he often does it through the interests of our children.
Our daughter Mary is an artist who loves to draw and paint. A teacher
at her school saw her doodles on a lunch bag and pulled it from the trash. “That’s amazing!” he said. Her colors are always vibrant, like she is.
Emmy is starting to spend a lot of time on the piano, picking out chords on her own. She appears to have an interest in music, and she makes up little songs she sings while dancing with such grace.
We don’t know how God will use the talents He has given our children, but having a part in developing those interests and gifts is a great privilege.