Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Youth Page

Written by Peter Langbroek
Children, Are You Bored?

Pretend for a moment that I have camcorded a typical school day this past July/August and a future September day, and I camcorded a typical family on a typical August day. Are your ready?

Play: On this hot humid August afternoon, in a living room strewn with games and toys are two children fighting and Mom on the phone with Aunt Clara.

"I did not!"

"You did so!"

Mom, speaks louder on the phone to Aunt Clara.

"You took my cap! Mom, Gerry took my cap."

"Just a minute, Clara,": Mom cups her hand on the phone beside the computer and with a frazzled look yells, "What now?"

Gerry, the older brother, pipes up, "Tyler's lying! I didn't touch his cap!"

Looking outside to the above-ground swimming pool and trampoline, Mom says in an exasperated tone, "Boys, why don't you go outside and do something!"

Hands in pocket, Tyler slouches on the couch next to the Battleship game. "I'm bored! There's nothing to do!"

Mom rolls her eyes and continues to talk to Aunt Clara. In a softer tone, she say, "I can't wait till the kids are back in school!"

Pause: Children, what is the problem in that home? Maybe it's like your home right now. Why are they bored? You may say they don't have anything to do. Is that why? Should the children get some money to buy more toys? No, I don't think that is the problem. The problem is that they have too many activities to choose from, and they have too much time for play. Chances are, if you're reading this and say, it's not true that I'm bored, it's because you are involved in some work, either outside your home or at your home.

I know very few children who can have constructive activities without adult supervision, over a long period of time. August is usually the time when you've had enough holidays and are ready to go back to school or receive home-schooling again. Does that mean I think holidays are bad? Let me rewind to answer that question.

Rewind to Play: On a hot, humid July/August day in the Grade 4 classroom, Gerry sits listlessly in his desk. To him, the teacher isn't talking but moving his lips up and down. Gerry is daydreaming about the swimming pool, his motorbike, and the trampoline. "I can't wait," he sighs, "until school is over."

Pause: Yes, I think Gerry deserved a break. We need to pause from our daily work, and re-create new activities. Our minds need to pause from the rigours of listening, writing, reading, computing, etc., but not for long. This, children, is Biblical wisdom. Proverbs 27:7 aptly states: "The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet."

Too much pleasure is not good for anyone, and too many toys can make a child dissatisfied. When I was 12 years old, I loved pineapple-banana slush so much that I went to the freezer every 15 minutes to eat a few scoops. By 3.00 p.m. I was in bed with a stomach ache. This too the Bible warns us of as well: "Hast thou found honey [or in my case, pineapple-banana slush]? Eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it." (Proverbs 25:16)

You see, God has created us to work, that is, to use our time and our talents wisely, in a way that develops our talents and shapes our minds and characters. Seeing this, we realize that God blesses hard work, and He requires that we work to His honour and glory. After all, He created us and gave us limited time in this life to spend wisely, not selfishly. And for that time He gives us, we must give an account to God on the Judgment Day.

Let's fast forward to September.

Fast Forward to Play: On a cool September day in the Grade 5 classroom, Gerry sits attentively while his new teacher speaks to him. New scribblers are in his deluxe binder. Gerry gazes down at his new Reeboks runners a moment while the teacher says, "Now, let's open the Science textbook to page 8." He opens the textbook. "Wow," thinks Gerry, "we're going to learn about volcanoes."

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