Audio: Teaching Our Children the Value of Quiet (and boredom)

Teaching our Children the Value of Quiet (and Boredom too) 

Melissa and Dave’s Keynote address #2 at the BC Christian Home Educators Conference

I believe that there is incredible potential for us to grow our children and a vital need for us to teach them how to embrace and look for opportunity in times of rest, quiet and ESPECIALLY Boredom! Melissa and I shared about this at a recent homeschool conference as the keynote speakers.

Teaching our Children the Value of Quiet (and Boredom too) 

For more reading in my Redefining Boredom Series follow these links:

Part 1: Room for relationship

Part 2: Healing

Part 3: Creativity

Part 4: Spiritual Growth

Redefining Boredom Part 4 – Opportunity for Spiritual Growth

Boredom as Opportunity for Spiritual Growth

Redefining Boredom Part 4

Boredom = Time for spiritual development and relationship with Jesus

Boredom, the word and the typical feelings related to the word, is starting to become a word with positive associated feelings for me. Instead of the usually associated feeling of emptiness and needing something to do to fill the time, it’s become an opportunity for REST, CREATIVITY and RELATIONSHIP. There is one kind of relationship that we often neglect and that is the spiritual one; our relationship with Jesus.


Matthew 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.


Learning to spend time with God and to develop ourselves spiritually is a difficult task, even for adults. Scripture tells us to pray and to be alone with God in “your room” and I can’t help but think that when I go into my room to talk with my wife, I don’t bring along things to distract me. If I have my phone, or if she has hers, it kills the conversation entirely because one or the other of us isn’t fully engaged.


It’s the same thing with God, we won’t be fully engaged with Him if we have things distracting us. How many times have we walked away from prayer saying we couldn’t feel or sense God’s presence or direction, but if we were to actually think back we might find ourselves admitting that we brought things with us, even if they were distractions and thoughts (click here for a post on settling the thoughts of and in your mind). It’s a discipline that most in our culture are terribly inadequate at. The practice of quiet and putting our thoughts aside to be able to focus on God is undervalued and rare.


It doesn’t stop there though, what about when we read our bibles, do we just race through the chapter and forget everything we just read or do we absorb it and take the time to allow God to speak to us through the words on the page?


And then there is the reality that the Holy Spirit is the ultimate counsellor, OUR counsellor in fact. When we are having a hard time and need His comfort, or maybe we want to express gratitude and excitement, do we allow ourselves the quiet in our hearts and minds to find that comfort and consolation or even celebration in and with Him?


(Click here for the post about boredom allowing time to process emotions)


Our spiritual development and the condition of our soul’s growth is entirely dependent on our being able to practice silence, quiet and relationship with God through His son Jesus and comforted by and through His Holy Spirit.


Just like I can’t talk or sense my wife’s intention to comfort me if I have extremely loud music on when we are trying to talk, we need to settle the noise in our lives and minds to hear God.


That becomes even harder when we allow our kids to believe the concept that boredom is a curse, something to avoid and run from. If that is true, then moments where things slow down enough for us to give attention and focus to God feels even more awkward and the discipline of quiet time with Him isn’t just foreign, it feels wrong and out of place.


The next time our children comment on the space that they have that isn’t filled with busyness, point out the gift of time that God has given them. Suggest that it’s His invitation to them to be with Him and give them tangible examples like when you lie with them in bed (or whenever you give uninterrupted time to them) before tucking them in to listen, talk and engage in their lives. Often, when they’re in bed, they are able to give the most attention to you without there being any distractions. Children’s bedrooms should be peaceful and relaxing for them to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is so important for children, so make sure that they’re comfortable in their bedroom. Also, as parents, it’s vital to keep an eye on the mattress. These need changing after about 8 years, so make sure to see if your child is comfortable. If they’re not, parents could always visit Sleepify to try and find them a more comfortable mattress.


There is no doubt that we need to teach our children this, but we can’t very well teach them something we don’t know how to do ourselves can we. Model the value and use of unscheduled time MUST happen. It’s time for us to consider whether we are running from boredom or embracing the opportunity.


1 Cor. 11:1


For more of my Redefining Boredom Series follow these links:

Part 1: Room for relationship

Part 2: Healing

Part 3: Creativity



Redefining Boredom Part 3 – Opportunity for Creativity

Boredom is an Opportunity for Creativity

Redefining Boredom Part 3

Boredom is Opportunity for Creativity – Redefining Boredom Part 3


For Part 1 click here

For Part 2 click here

For Part 4 click here


In my pursuit to change our response to the word “boredom” in our home, I continually find more benefits of unscheduled time, particularly in our children’s lives as they work toward maturity and independence.


This is the third part in a series outlining the opportunities that boredom creates for us and our children.


I heard a quote recently in a video found at featuring Simon Sinek that said, “Boredom makes room for creativity.” It was in relation to the epidemic of technology and social media on our culture.


There is truth to that statement, there is a kid’s movie that I watched called “Robots” and a primary quote/theme in the movie was this; “see a need, fill a need” and it has really increased the amount of needs I take the time to think about and notice, while simultaneously increased my creative problem solving. Instead of seeing the need and wondering who has a solution for it, I begin to think of what solutions I could come up with for the problem.


The issue that we run into with our children starts in the first part of that statement, “see a need.” If we are constantly filling our children’s minds and lives with things to distract them and keep then entertained, will they ever see a need in the first place?


Boredom first allows us the space to notice.


But it doesn’t stop there. Once they notice, what response are they going to have?


The most common scenario for people is that they will notice, but instantly look up the solution on Google instead of exploring options that they might have for themselves. When I was younger I had to wait until I got home and look up the answer in a dictionary or encyclopaedia, which trained my brain to remember and consider the level of importance I attributed to different things. Now I look things up immediately, and promptly forget that I even had the question in the first place.


We need to help our children realize that even if there is an answer to find online, it’s entirely possible that you might be able to come up with a better one. An even more novel concept would be to not need the Internet to survive at all!


Boredom helps our minds remember, exercise and be creative. Instead of relying on the expertise and knowledge of others, we become innovators and creators of solutions.


Space for thought, reflection and creativity for our children requires space – that space is often called boredom. When my children say they are bored I get excited, I ask them how they are doing and engage with them relationally while walking them through different feelings they may have or may need to sort through. Their complaints of boredom become initiation for me to “see a need, a fill a need” with them and teach them to be creative and process, to be innovators and problem solvers.


Redefining Boredom Part 2 – Time to Heal

Boredom = Time for Healing

Boredom in Our Kids’ Lives Is Actually Time to Heal

Our kids’ sadness can be unpleasant and hard for us

to deal with ourselves but its necessary.


I’ve written in the past about the value of boredom for our kids. When they talk about needing something to do or one of my kids even starts chanting “bored, bored, bored”, I tell them that I’m excited that they have time to pray, rest their minds and hearts and read their bible.


They don’t always respond positively right away, but they start off by realizing that we aren’t going to flinch when they claim boredom, and hopefully we have begun the process of shifting their thinking of boredom from a negative to opportunity. Here is another positive result of boredom. (I’ve written 4 total.)


Boredom = time to feel


I’m not sure if you have ever found yourself doing this but so often we avoid dealing with how we are feeling by distracting ourselves. We “self medicate” in any number of ways. Video games, ice cream, parties and other social settings, maybe even just turning on the TV. Escaping is safe, or we think it is, but it’s only temporary and can be quite harmful if we don’t ever really deal with our issues.


Our minds NEED the space to process, thinking and considering, and most importantly feeling the emotions and natural internal responses related to a situation are VITAL to our emotional health and well being. The last thing we need is to have kids that grow up avoiding their own emotions using whatever tool or source that they need to to avoid unpleasant feelings.


Feelings and emotions were given to us by God for a reason. Whether we are grieving or overjoyed with excitement, we need to allow ourselves to feel both the good and bad in order to learn what it means to be excited, deeply sad, and everything in between.


I think about all of the movies I’ve seen where someone is drowning their sorrows in a bucket of ice-cream or bag of chips. These scenes aren’t all bad, most of the time they are actually allowing themselves to feel real feelings in those moments. That is at least until they get out of the house and find a distraction of some kind, something to numb and ignore what is really being felt.


For us as parents, it’s important to walk our kids through the value and impact of feeling things. During this quiet time of “boredom”, we can prevent baggage from building up as resentment comes to the surface for us to face. If we don’t have the tools to sit quietly and process, we may even stifle our passion because any overt emotion feels wrong, or like we are out of control. This is NOT healthy emotional development and it’s our responsibility as parents to teach out children that those emotions are normal and even positive. In doing so, we also teach them how to regulate and stop emotional train wreck moments, describing for them when the appropriate time is to express some of those feelings – simply put, bottling them up is never a good thing.


May you and your children continue to embrace boredom and shift our thinking of it from dread to opportunity.

click here for part 3 of Redefining Boredom


Boredom – Making Room for Relationship with Our Children – Redefining Boredom

Relationship over Activity

Have we lost sight of what relationships with our children should look like?

I can’t count the number of times that my wife, Melissa, and I have been so caught up in our hectic lives that we have needed to take a step back and ask each other whether what we have involved ourselves and our children in is actually benefitting our family or simply overwhelming us. There is a lot that is thrown at you before having children, how to raise them, what to do when they have a tantrum, etc. however, as long as you care and love them, and feed them correctly, not with ‘metals found in food’ products, then it should be okay, although for many it can be simply too much.


So many of us live lives worried about what our kids might “miss out” on and sign them up for everything – VBS, Youth groups, sports teams, music lessons and more. We, as parents, quickly turn into “taxi drivers” and chauffeurs without time to breathe or think until our kids are in bed. The problem with this is that by keeping a pace of life that is that busy, we risk stealing what’s most important for our children from them.


Our children are often missing out on two of the things that they need most, the following is the first half of finding the value of boredom article (click here for the first half of this article):


  1. Relationship

Children are born with an inner yearning for proximity. They need a relationship with their parents or primary caregivers, and with each person in their family. So often when older children make particular choices in life that the parents are concerned with they often say, “but I didn’t raise them to be like that.” Unfortunately, as good as the intentions of these parents’ have been, the reality is that parents may not be raising their children at all. Raising children requires time, both quality, AND quantity. As much as we think or hope that “time” with our kids, even if we are just watching them do an activity or driving them from one place to the next, is good, it is very easy to neglect the relationship in favour of activities and even leave our children feeling like they need to perform in order to gain our attention.


This can be difficult for single parents or parents who have to work a lot, who often need programs to help balance the load. Which is why it is important to “collect” your children when they come home. Being sure to be intentional to debrief their day, talk about random things, laugh, play, and share heart matters. Do the best you can with the time you have! Choosing to give your children the attention and time you do have, rather than taking them to an additional activity, will benefit them in incredible ways.


Spending time with our kids in ways that do not include other people or structured/programmed activities allows them to know that we care about WHO they are, not just WHAT they do. It leaves space and silence enough for us to be in each other’s presence and appreciate character traits and personality types and even opinions and interests. Our children need to be able to “rest in our presence” much like we are to rest in the presence of our Good Shepherd (Psalm 23). Having fun with them and playing with them, is incredibly important to their development and their relationship with us. It is worth the time and effort! Lets be intentional with the time we do have with our kids.


As the new school year begins and programs start, take the time to pre-emptively decide to avoid overwhelming both your life and your children’s lives with too much. Where you can, leave space for play, connection, relationship and opportunity for awareness of God’s presence. Doing so will help your child blossom to their full potential.


The full version of this article was originally published for the Fellowship of Evangelical Bible Church and can be found here.


Continue reading my series on “Redefining Boredom” with the following links:

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


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Teaching our Kids the Beauty of Boredom – Redefining Boredom Part 1

Boredom Isn’t What You Think it is

Teaching our children the value of quiet – Redefining Boredom Part 1

I can’t count the number of times that my wife, Melissa, and I have been so caught up in our hectic lives that we have needed to take a step back and ask each other whether what we have involved ourselves and our children in is actually benefitting our family or simply overwhelming us.


So many of us live lives worried about what our kids might “miss out” on and sign them up for everything – VBS, Youth groups, sports teams, music lessons and more. We, as parents, quickly turn into “taxi drivers” and chauffeurs without time to breathe or think until our kids are in bed. The problem with this is that by keeping a pace of life that is that busy, we risk stealing what’s most important for our children from them.


Our children are often missing out on two of the things that they need most (I will only address one in this article though):


  1. Boredom

When I was a child, I remember feeling bored and wondering if there was something wrong if I felt this way, but now I actually miss and envy those times when things are slow enough for me to rest my mind and have nothing to do or think about. It leaves space for me to get to know myself and to allow God to speak to me. God’s presence is so often found in the silence, and we don’t allow ourselves enough of that.


We need to be teaching and modeling this to our kids so that they appreciate the quiet and the slow moments of life. I have actually started telling my kids how excited I am when they come to me saying that they are “bored.” Boredom indicates opportunity, opportunity to be creative, to rest our minds or better yet, to spend time with God.


Moments of boredom for me are few and far between and I would actually suggest that it isn’t boredom at all, but a moment in my day where I have enough space and silence to notice the world around me. The irony is that I actually have to re-train myself to be okay in those moments. I have to intentionally avoid my phone or leave the TV off in an attempt to sit with my thoughts, and create space for the many benefits of stillness. This is especially beneficial for our children. We really need to both model and implement times throughout the day where we “unplug” from any device, to embrace “boredom” to foster creative development as well as the much needed space to process the day and deal with things that need to be addressed rather than be distracted. Kids do not need to be constantly stimulated, instead they need space to freely play, spend time in relationship, and contemplate life…something that our culture craves and so we need to cultivate and protect it!


Without that space, our children find themselves in constant states of anxiety and tension. We need to teach them how to decompress. Lets teach them to embrace their boredom as a chance to decompress, quiet the soul and take stock of who they are and who they are in Christ.


Click here for the second half of this article