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The modern day boredom versus

the "old days" boredom. 

by Dallas A Dixon.

Dallas A Dixon Dallas A Dixon Over the past ten years I have heard many children and young people, including my own grandchildren, proclaim that they are BORED. I guess most young people now days would consider me an old man from prehistoric days but as I think back to when I was a young boy, I cannot remember anybody ever saying that they were bored. The only time I heard the word “bored” back then was when some man would say that he had “bored” a hole through a piece of wood or metal.  It is difficult for me to understand why so many children and young people are bored today. Many of them spend hours playing different kinds of sports such as football or tennis, baseball or softball. I hear and see that many children and young people have all the electronic items, such as iPads, mobile phones, iPods, laptops, tablets, electronic games, etc.

In my younger days my buddies and I would draw a circle in the dirt and play a game of marbles or sometimes play cowboys and robbers. Of course, we always had plenty of work to do such as weeding the gardens, mowing the lawns with push mowers, shoveling snow from our sidewalks and some of our neighbors’ sidewalks, and many other chores our parents expected us to complete.

Please do not take me wrong because I believe modern technology is the greatest thing ever and I enjoy it just as much as anybody else but I still wonder why the young people are so bored now days when many of them have all the modern conveniences to entertain themselves.  Sometimes, I believe they are bored because they are having fun all the time. Does that make sense?

I have seen many parents of teenagers mowing the lawns during the summertime, and shoveling snow from the sidewalks and driveways during the winter months. I always think, “Where are their kids and why are they not helping their parents, or else doing the work for their parents? Perhaps, their young sons and daughters are too busy enjoying sports or playing electronic games, or maybe it is because the parents will not tell their children to work.”  I realize that I am from the “old school”, but I still believe that a little hard physical work, along with the fun stuff is good for young people. I believe hard physical work is an important part of the common sense learning experience during a child’s growing up process.

A story of boredom from the past:
About the first time I can remember hearing anybody say that they were bored was during a beautiful Saturday summertime evening when our two daughters were approximately ages 13 and 14. I had arrived home a short time earlier after completing a sixty-hour workweek, and had grabbed a cold can of beer out of the refrigerator, opened the beer can, and sat down in my favorite chair located on the three-season porch. My lovely wife, Rita, joined me on the porch five minutes later and about ten minutes later our daughters sauntered onto the porch. I asked them how their day had been and they replied that there was nothing to do and they were bored.

I had been looking at the wainscoted porch ceiling a few minutes earlier and saw that it was in need of repainting, so I immediately said, “I have a cure for your boredom. I will provide you each with a paint scraper and on Monday morning, you can both begin scraping off the loose paint from this porch ceiling. When you finish that, you can both scrape off the loose paint from the large, wooden, overhead garage door. Those two jobs should keep you busy for several days, maybe even until school begins this fall.” They replied that they did not know how to scrape paint, so I told them that I would gladly show them how to do it but not until the next day.

I awoke early Sunday morning and after drinking a little coffee, I went into the garage, found two paint scrapers, and set them on a table located in our 3-season porch. When we all finished eating breakfast, I handed the girls each a paint scraper and explained to them how to scrape off the loose ceiling paint. Then, we went outside and I showed them what they needed to do on the large overhead garage door. They assured me that they understood and said that they would begin scraping paint the first thing Monday morning.

Miss Nancy book cover Miss Nancy book cover I worked another 10-hour day on Monday, and when I arrived home Monday night, I asked the girls how their paint scraping efforts had gone for them. They said that they had spent the entire day, off and on, scraping the porch ceiling and that it was only half-finished. Rita said, “Yes, and a few times the girls became frustrated and scraped across the grain on the wainscoting, which left a few scars in the wood.” I inspected the ceiling and saw several scars located across the wood grain, so I again told the girls to make sure they scraped with the wood grain. I also told them that the part they had finished looked good, other than the scars.

They spent most of the day Tuesday scraping the remainder of the porch ceiling, and eventually moved on to the large overhead garage door. By Thursday evening, our daughters had finished both projects, which meant that I would spend the weekend priming and painting. From that time on, I never heard either one of them say that they were bored. To my recollection, both our daughters began working part-time at Wendy’s restaurant the following spring and continued their employment there while finishing their remaining years of high school.

They worked during the summer months, and during the school years, they worked the weekend and after school hours, but never complained, at least not to me. They both matured into beautiful women and eventually started their own families. Rita and I are very proud of our daughters and their families.

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