Remember when you were a child and life was carefree? The days when you weren’t bothered about any problems that cropped up around you?
There was no job to think about, no bills to pay and simply no responsibility.
Actually, thinking back to when I was a child, there was one thing that caused me some distress and I can see history repeating itself with my two daughters.
When I was younger, like most children, the only thing that created worry in my young mind was boredom – that emotional state when you are left with nothing in particular to do and your surroundings could easily be described at that moment in time as the doldrums.
When I was a boy I regularly annoyed my mum and dad by using those two words that when put together would put them right on the spot: ‘I’m bored’, I would declare.
I would look at them expectantly waiting for them to solve my one and only problem in life with a list of ideas that were high in entertainment value for my eager mind. Sometimes they would offer something for me to do, but, understandably, sometimes they wouldn’t.
Being a dad of two daughters I’ve learnt it’s just not possible to keep children entertained all the time.
Now I have my children expecting the same response from me when they declare they are bored. And, like my parents, it really does put you on the spot feeling like you need to take their mind out of this state of stagnation and give them some instant entertainment. Especially now seven-year-old Caitlin is at junior school where for her daily six-hour session her mind is kept constantly busy.
Whether she’s learning French with her classmates, getting mucky with paint in the art room or running around in the playground, there is no chance of her getting bored.
This is great but means the pressure is on to make her time at home just as stimulating.
Well that’s what I thought, but apparently boredom is not such a bad thing for a child.
I’ve always thought boredom in a child can lead to mischief, but an Oxford University professor has claimed bored children, if left to their own devices, are more likely to pick up a book or write a story.
Apparently unstructured time will give them a chance to be creative and use their own minds to relieve their boredom.
But I do fear when Caitlin declares she is bored and I respond with ‘no you’re just being creative’ I’ll get a blank and puzzled face looking back at me.
Christmas star’s crushing blow
We’ve done it, the Christmas decorations are up in the Hayden house.
Up to the attic we went to dust off boxes that haven’t been touched since January. Inside these dreary-looking containers, held together by gaffer tape were colourful and glittery items ready to make our living room fit for Christmas.
Again Serena and I had two little helpers, daughters Caitlin and Alyssa.
My job was putting the lights on the tree, trying my best to space them evenly and not leave too many large gaps.
Then our girls were let loose to decorate the tree. I was nervous at what would greet me once they were done. But I needn’t have worried. I’m not ashamed to admit it, but I think they did a better job than I would have made of it.
Then a decision needed to be made: who would have the honour of putting the star on the top? It’s a decision that will come later as Caitlin accidentally dropped it and stood on it making it useless.
Must leave you now – I’m off to buy a new star.