In Praise of Boredom

By Alison Binks

Your home is small, or beginning to feel small now. The kids are home. And the creative brain of your little child is huge – the ideas, questions, emotions…it doesn’t seem like a long-term fit, inside these walls.

We adults all have things to get on with. As an artist and author I’m luckier than many, with work that can be done at home, and an imaginative inner world I can inhabit, that takes me beyond current confines.

Our small children naturally have their own inner worlds. Their imaginative play comes from this place. A cardboard box is a train carriage. Or a ship.

This inner world is a special gift I believe we all start out with, and one we’ll be treasuring more and more, as we live through so-called lockdown. It’s also the place from which creativity grows. Tomorrow’s scientists are today’s children, lying on their bellies in the dirt, observing a trail of ants, lost in their own world. Or letting their imaginations run free with paints and butchers’ paper. Tomorrow’s innovators, artists, deep thinkers and problem solvers are today’s children, nurturing their precious innate creativity now.

Right now we’ve got a particular chance to check in with our inner world, and nurture that place in our children.

Some time outdoors is a great place to start, even in a tiny snippet of ‘nature’. Maybe there are some birds, or a tree with nice bark, or snails after a rain. Even some seedlings to nurture in a pot. The important part is unstructured time, without expectation. In our society saturated with information and rush, it can be rare (especially at the moment) that we step away from the digital inputs and look instead at our surroundings, or listen to our thoughts.

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