Tag Archives: boredom

From Interest To Understanding

Nothing grates on a dad’s ears like the words “I’m bored.”  My parents are quick to remind me I said those same words to them when I was a kid, but something tells me I did not use them as frequently as kids today.  Accurate or not, I choose to believe it.

So, when my son proactively told me he wanted to take up Jiu-Jitsu when he returns from visitation with his mom this summer, I could not have been happier.  Now, if he ever says, “I’m bored,” I can encourage him to practice for an activity he chose to do rather than just tell him to “read a book” or that “only boring people are bored” (which was quite an unhelpful thing to have been told when I was a child).

For years, I have encouraged him to pursue one of the martial arts, but he never showed interest. I always believed he would benefit from the discipline and methodical process associated with any of them.  Patience has never been one of his strong suits, and perfecting the basics of a art form before moving on to more advanced maneuvers seems like a valuable lesson as he hits his pre-teen years.  Further, those lessons coming from someone other than dad might be helpful at this stage.

Photo Credit: Christian Kaden via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Christian Kaden via Compfight cc

Even better, we have a Jiu-Jitsu dojo within biking distance from our house, so he can begin to spread his wings and learn responsibility along with his new activity.

Now comes the point in the story where I have not successfully gotten my son to dig deeper before beginning.

My son expressed a desire to someday be an MMA fighter as his rationale for studying Jiu-Jitsu.  He’s 11, so I get it.  And, if by chance he wants to be a competitive martial artist and has the aptitude, something like MMA could become a reality.

So, instead of lecturing him on the dangers of The Octagon, I decided to have him dig deeper into the philosophy of Jiu-Jitsu.  Where did it originate?  Are there different styles and how are they different?  Who practices Jiu-Jitsu best in the world?  What is the underlying philosophy of this martial art?

I had a few other questions in my text message to him explaining what I wanted him to do…how to move from interest to gaining some basic understanding before starting something new.

So far, I have received a short text in response to this line of questioning:  “A guy named Henry Okasaki”.  Presumably, he’s the greatest of all time.

I will encourage him to continue his research and tell me about it, but in the meantime, I need to do my own research so I can better guide him in this new interest.

What activities have your kids engaged in where you did not know much about it?  Have you found learning background before starting a new activity makes the experience better?

Helping Your Kids Find Hobbies

My son just wrapped up his rugby season and does not plan to play spring baseball.  On one hand, I do not have to drive him to practice and we get our Saturday mornings back for a few months.

Unfortunately, when asked what he wants to do in the coming months, he can only come up with activities requiring either constant parental supervision or being over 18 years old.

A partial list of things he seriously would like to do (as an 11-year-old):

  • Bike riding on highway access roads
  • Motorcross
  • Welding


Photo Credit: parkerwelds via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: parkerwelds via Compfight cc

I explained his choices sounded interesting, but we not activities he could do without an adult.  Therefore, he could begin any of those as a hobby.

Then he said a word we all said as kids ourselves, but we want to scream when our own kids say it: “But everything else is boring!”

When our kids say they are bored we come up with the usual responses like, “if I told my mom and dad I was bored, they made me do chores” or “only boring people are bored.”  Neither do us or our kids much good.

So, it was time to redirect and come up with some other ideas.  However, nothing I mentioned sounded the least bit interesting to him.  Music lessons, acting, another sport, reading, collecting something – nothing caught his attention.

I have asked him to write down a list of all the things he finds interesting and from there, pick a few subjects we could turn into a hobby.  When i told him TV and Xbox could not appear on his list, he did seem a bit sad, but at least he knows he can create a list of his interests and not mine.

I told him to be as crazy and creative as he could.  Maybe welding stays on his list, but we can discover some way to work with metal as a beginner…not an expert.  His list will give us a chance to learn what kind of options are out there and force us to get creative as we find an activity for him.  And it will give us a chance to communicate and spend time together.

As of today he has not picked a new hobby, but I am holding out hope.  And searching Craigslist for used welding equipment.

What kinds of hobbies do your kids do?  What is the most unique hobby you or your kids have?