My children have the same problem nearly every day. They come to me with one of the common burdens of childhood and declare, “Daddy, I’m bored!”
Being the sensitive father that I am, I usually reply, “Great! It’s good to be bored. Nobody has ever died from boredom. Maybe you’ll come up with something creative to do or get some work accomplished. It’s good to be bored.”
Then, they roll their eyes and walk away.
I know they were just trying to get permission to watch screens, but I’d rather have them be bored than to become zombies consuming endless videos. The wisdom of adulthood has taught me that boredom isn’t a serious problem.
It’s difficult being a child with too much time and not enough to do. I haven’t had the problem in years. We adults have the opposite issue. We’re all busy and in a hurry. Have you ever noticed that when you ask people how they are doing, almost everyone responds with, “I’m so busy. There’s so much going on! I have no time.”
We take pride in our over-booked calendars and constant activity. We work hard. We play hard, and we fill every other moment with our phones, social media and entertainment. We are never bored, but we have a deeper problem. We have little time for what truly matters.
Here is the sobering truth: Life passes quickly. Today you are one day closer to the end of your life than you were yesterday. In Psalm 90 the psalmist reflects on the brevity of the human life. He tells us that we may have 70 or 80 years, but it will come to an end like a “sigh.”
And then the psalmist offers a prayer that is as relevant for our day as it was for his. “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
In other words, remember how short your life is. Don’t waste it. Spend your time on what really matters.
I talked to an old friend this week who I haven’t seen in over a decade. He and I have both experienced the tragic loss of a loved one in recent years, and we spoke about our grief and how much these deaths have changed us. We discovered in our conversation that neither of us care much about the things we used to care about. Our priorities have changed.
In the face of death, money and success lose their allure. Faith and family and friendship are the things that really matter. Ironically, we had neglected our friendship for the past decade, but in reconnecting we were both reminded of what really matters.
Life is short. Spend your time wisely.
As I am finishing typing this article at my dining room table, my 5-year-old daughter just came to me and said, “Daddy, we’re all bored. Can we watch something?”
“No, you can’t, sweety ... but it’s for your own good.”