Close to two weeks ago I was becoming increasingly frustrated with my eight year old as he was getting a bit “sassy” with me. In the heat of the moment I heard myself saying, “no technology for two weeks! And if you even consider asking for it back I will add a day!” And then I proceeded to make a list of the behaviors I expected, including being kind to a stranger everyday (it’s a long list…don’t forget I was heated).
When I woke up the next day I heard the word “consistency” ringing in my ears (which is a bit challenging for me). And then I started to wonder who is getting punished here…him? Me? Or both of us?
If you are a client you will most likely hear me say practically every session, “look at this as an experiment and see what happens.” And so I decided to take my own advice and framed this form of punishment as an experiment. It helped that my husband was completely on board with my experiment. It’s important to note during the school year we have a no technology rule (no TV, computer or video games) during the week and limit it to 1.5 hours on the weekend.
The first few days were a bit tough for him. When he started to get tired and bored he would ask with those big brown eyes if he could watch a “little” movie or play a “little” video game. Along with my “no” came some stomping and huffing (it was hard not to give in!) However after a time I would find him deep in to a creative project. The dress up box was out more than usual. And for someone who had been saying, “I have no toys!” he rediscovered endless games he had played with once or twice and then stashed them away.
What I discovered too is that although our son doesn’t engage in technology for long hours he turns to it or thinks incessantly about his next “fix” when he’s bored. This takes me back to an article I read several years ago where the writer discussed the importance of boredom. In fact, this writer believes that many of our emotional problems today stem from over-stimulation and allowing little to no space for boredom. Although boredom can be quite uncomfortable to most of us, it also seems to be the essential step in opening up to creativity.
My sons creativity is often blooming but it was taken to a whole new level during this two week period. He had me laughing to tears at times because his humor just exploded. There is a tendency for many of us when we get uncomfortable to quit what we are doing or simply avoid.
And yet what I have discovered about myself and what I witness with my clients is that if we can be with this uncomfortableness, there are gems are the other side. New insights, other perspectives and movement. What we resist…………persists. And so I challenge all of you, myself included to go out and get bored. Be bored. Allow boredom. And see what happens. Look at it as an experiment.