Middle Grade BoredomMiddle Grade Boredom: Think Again

Middle Grade Boredom is a myth.  How do I know this?  Well, are you really bored as a middle grade kid or are you just being lazy?  What does it mean to be bored or “bide one’s time?”  The Webster’s Dictionary, one of my favorite books of all time (ask me about the dictionary game!!!) says it means “TO WAIT FOR A GOOD OPPORTUNITY.”  Sounds safe enough, but within the hide of the bide, you’re missing out on the fabulous RIDE of being YOU.

The reason I say this is because most of the time middle school children are so busy watching the clock, waiting for the bell to ring, or waiting for school to get out, you miss out on what is happening right NOW.  Imagine if the kids in Saltwater Taffy were bored with being the kids they were and……didn’t go after the adventure in the story?  My middle grade readers of the story would be bored as well.  Boredom is the activity to block your own creativity.

The idea for this post came to me when I was walking out of the gym the other day. The girl behind the juice counter was just standing there…staring at the walls, bored out of her mind.  What a waste of time.  Imagine if she were to use her time wisely and actually think about her future?

Sure, she could have been thinking, but when I noticed the look on her face to be one of those looks where she was simply biding her time until her shift was over, I knew she was bored.  What a waste of time.  Well, for those of you who know me, I didn’t miss the chance to maybe spark something inside of her soul.

While the girl (probably 22 or 23 years old) was filling a cup for me, I “broke the ice” (hahaget it?) and asked…really slow today, huh?”  She said, “Oh man, you have no idea. I’m so bored.” I quickly replied, “Well…boredom is a choice…it’s up to you how you use your time.” She then told me she used to read, but management frowned upon that. I said, there’s always a way around a roadblock in life.  Noticing the blank stare that was across her face, I offerred her a suggestion…get some paperwork from a recent vendor order and put it on a clipboard…under that vendor paperwork, put yourself a few peices of paper and use the time to write. “Write what?” She asked.

It occurred at this moment that she had no plan for her future, she was simply reacting to what life gave her.  I then asked her, “What do you want to do?” Her eyes squinted and she asked, “About what?”

I’ll spare you the back and forth that went on for a few more sentences, but the fact was, this girl had no vision of her future. She was just reacting to life. She was like a carnival toy; walk past, put in a quarter and the toy comes to life.

This girl was biding her time until she got off work and could distract herself with shopping, or eating, or anything but a creative thought. I couldn’t believe she wouldn’t use that time to think…think about her future…about her desires…her dreams. So, I dug deeper.

I said, “write about what you want to do, what you’re going through, what your dreams are. Once you get it out of your head, and onto the page, you can see it, then you can apply it. When you apply it, you can then see it realized. You see, a dream has to start somewhere, so stop wasting your time and look inside your heart for the things you really want to accomplish in your life. If you don’t, you’re going to get older…and older…and then one day, you’re going to look around and realize…WOW…I really haven’t done anything with my life. WHY NOT make something happen today. Use this time…this time which someone is paying you to stand here and make juice…to occupy your mind with thoughts that excite you…thoughts that ignite you. And hey, if you don’t think you can do it…just change your mind and remind yourself… YES, I CAN!!!!!

To say the look on her face was changed would be an understatement. Within a matter of 2 minutes, I was able to help her see past the fog of “being bored.” That’s the lesson here…to use your time wisely! NEVER SAY you’re bored. If you are, all you’re doing is being lazy. Think about thoughts that inspire and uplift you! It’s funny, don’t you think, that we’ll spend all sorts of time thinking about how someone made us feel bad, but we won’t spend 2 minutes to ignite the passion that is always there, waiting for us to say YES…I CAN. I WILL. I AM GONNA ROCK THIS THING CALLED LIFE!!!!!!

Eric DelaBarre is an award winning filmmaker and the author of Saltwater Taffy: A Novel of Adventure & Self-discovery. Copyright September 25, 2010 All Rights Reserved.

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