“I don’t know what I want to do. Nothing interests me.” (Recycled Sundays)

Lately I’ve been thinking about how many young people (teens and twenties) elect to do nothing in the absence of finding a “fulfilling” or “exciting” job (with good pay, holidays and benefits to boot). Personally, I’m of the belief that this almost never happens. I think we MAKE our jobs fulfilling or exciting, just like we make our lives.

I believe only boring people are bored. A creative person can find something interesting to do with a stick and a rock. A boring person can whine in a room full of toys and entertainment systems.

I think the two are related.

Stimulation rarely comes from outside. Sure, the first time you see fireworks as a child or ride a wild rollercoaster, your are pulled outside yourself. But, the rest of our lives, we need to nurture our interests. We need to investigate, experience,study, ponder, and interact with what is around us.

We need to INVEST in the experience in order to feel anything. Eventually, with time and successful encounters, our interest, attachment, and enjoyment increases. It does not fall into our lap like Newton’s apple. We grow it like the little red hen’s wheat.

So why do so many young people have difficulty doing this? It may be because we have raised them to be passive intakers. They take ballet lessons instead of inventing a dance with a broom and a record. They belong to competive teams (I am really amazed that timy little football uniforms exist) instead of organizing a game of kick the can with friends. They play on safe plastic structures in supervised and restricted ways instead of hammering together boards and an old tire. The play with gaming systems, often against people they can’t even see, instead of playing hopscotch in the driveway with the neighbour. They put batteries in their dolls who move and talk whether the child is in the room or not. Many children go to daycare, to school, and then to lessons/clubs/teams and then watch tv and go to bed.

None of these things in and of themselves are bad. They do, however, have a cumulative effect.

I wonder if living such controlled lives has disempowered our children. Are they shocked and disappointed upon reaching adulthood to find that the perfect job does not arrive shrinkwrapped and tailor made?

Just a thought.

(September 30, 2010)


Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages


2 thoughts on ““I don’t know what I want to do. Nothing interests me.” (Recycled Sundays)

  1. Bingo! So many good points in this article. We seem to be raising too many kids who live in a world of “entertainment entitlement”. Moving kids from being passive to active learners should be a priority in schools and at home.

    I’d add that the bored child whose day is characterized by an online or video life also suffers from lack of contact with, and appreciation for, the natural world. That brings its own set of consequences.


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