Are you cramming your kids’ summer holidays with art camp and swimming lessons and a lifetime membership at the local bouncy castle? You might believe that you’re killing two birds with one stone — alleviating your child’s boredom AND preserving the threadbare string that barely connects you to your sanity.
But sadly you’re wrong. Because what kids actually need is boredom and also learning Extreme Street Fighting. They don’t get enough of either, it turns out. Between school and activities and play dates, your children have never developed the skills necessary to figure out what they like to do, nor have they perfected their parrying or head butting techniques.
If you’re following the summer boredom regimen, you already know how this works because as you read this one of your kids is grabbing the lego helicopter howitzer desk that the other has been working on all morning and is running across the room with it. You and your children are learning how elbows can be devastating weapons when used correctly in the moments just after the helicopter howitzer desk smashes to the ground into little bits of Lego you will clean up after this evening’s “happy” hour. You see what you did? An important Extreme Street Fighting lesson has been absorbed and you didn’t even have to spend one penny on Grand Master chess scrimmages or horse riding lessons. Plus you get to spend more time with your kids!
Psychologists and philosophers agree that boredom is a lost art and the locus of all creativity. Children who are constantly scheduled with badminton tournaments and Broadway musical workshops will never discover the joy of making up a game using just a cardboard box and a rubber spatula. They will never understand how fingernails can be used for clawing and jabbing and drawing blood when one of your kids decides the spatula is actually the very prince destined to wed her princess Barbie doll. And as you’re rummaging through the drawer searching for the anti-biotic ointment, your little ones will be weighing the merits of open hand strikes against the fisted variety.