The Bored Generation
Lately, I have noticed something that seems to be on the increase. I am concerned with the boredom of an entire generation. Check out the facebook and status updates of young adolescents and you’ll be sure to see the infamous statement, “I AM BORED.” I am sure that this isn’t something entirely new, but I do see it as a growing problem. In the midst of incredible advances in technology, entertainment, and communication, teens and children are complaining that they simply have nothing to do. With a 5 year old, 9 year old, and 11 year old, it’s a phrase that comes up often at our house. If we hear complaining about boredom at our house, the first step is usually cleaning their room or reading a book. But even with consequences, our children still want us to entertain them and help them find something to do.
I think this problem has huge implications for the church as well. If the younger millennials grow up in a society where they are constantly entertained, it will affect how we reach them. We must start getting to the root of the problem. One area of concern is the pace of our society. Everything is based on instant gratification and no waiting. From fast food to movies on demand to instant messaging, everything has been geared toward providing them what they want when they want it. I still have hope, but it will require action on our part.
At the risk of sounding old, I actually remember before we had game systems, cell phones, and home computers. As kids, we spent much of our time simply being kids, playing and enjoying our time with friends. As adults, I feel we have a responsibility to help guide and direct the younger generation to learn how to live life to the fullest. I think we can teach and model some important truths.
So What’s the Cure?
- Let’s teach them to develop a Holy curiosity – When you look at the world with wonder and anticipation, you simply cannot become bored. When you explore and learn, you will grow in maturity and in knowledge.
- Let’s teach them to be still and know God – If we cannot teach our children to slow down, what will happen as they grow older? Jesus spent regular time in silence and solitude with God the Father, and we need to do the same thing. It brings us into God’s presence, it allows us to avoid stress by bringing our requests before God, and it strengthens us with the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Let’s teach them to use their imagination and creativity – I’m afraid we are preventing them from finding solutions to their problems. When they are bored, they can become incredibly creative. It’s in those times when they come up with new ideas and new ways of doing things. Let’s not stifle their creativity. Instead encourage them to discover something to do when they are bored.
- Let’s teach them to serve others – At the root of boredom is selfishness. Everything is focused on my needs and wants. When we find ways to serve others, it helps refocus our priorities on the two greatest commandments. Loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving others as ourselves.
- Let’s teach them the power of reading the Bible and other great books – I am thankful that my children love books. I love seeing them pick up books, but still way too often I hear the phrase “I am bored.” I want to create in them a love of reading. It’s amazing what they can learn from great stories. And I especially want them to spend time reading their Bible. It is such a great joy to hear them reading Bible stories to each other.
I encourage you to join in the conversation. What else would you add to this list?