Next time You Hear “Eema, I’m Bored,” Remember…

Next time You Hear “Eema, I’m Bored,” Remember…

Yesterday I woke up with a feeling akin to panic bubbling in my chest.

Summer vacation is nearly over, this panic hyperventilated in my ear, and how many fun things have your kids actually done this summer?

I imagined a scale. But instead of a Rosh Hashana scale of good deeds and bad deeds, on my scale, on 1 side were the hours my kids spent this vacation at the zoo or at the pool/beach or at summer camp, and on the other side were all those hours they spent hanging out around the house.

And in my minds eye I saw that scale, especially in these final post-camp weeks of the lazy days of summer, catapulting the zoo/pool/summer camp hours heavenward as the “Eema, I’m bored” side fell earthward with a resolute thud.

And then, in my fog of panic, I remembered something I once read that made a strong impression on me.

But first of all, I want to ask you…

If someone told you, “I had a boring day” or “I had a boring vacation” would you think that was a good thing or a bad thing?

If you’re anything like me, you’d think it was bad. Flunking mother bad.

But this last spring, I read something written by an 18-year-old girl that introduced me to a new angle on being bored…

Some background…

This year, a bunch of very sweet and highly determined girls in my daughter’s high school began a vigorous anti-smartphone campaign. And they actually ended up convincing a bunch of their fellow students and siblings and even a few of us parents to convert to dumb-phones.

And, as part of this campaign, my daughter’s dear friend, Shirel ben-Zohar of Beit El, wrote the following appeal to her classmates. It is a plea to use smartphones less, and feel bored more…

Shirel wrote:

Have you ever taken a ride somewhere, just looking out the window, and thinking deeply about life?

Without any unnecessary distractions and frequent glances at your phone?

When was the last time you were truly bored?

Real boredom, without a quick and easy solution to escape?

Keep in mind that some of the greatest inventions in human history were dreamt up in moments of boredom.

I know. Being bored is a very difficult challenge!

And I can tell you from personal experience, as someone who gave up my smartphone, that the other side is a powerhouse in pulling us in.

And there are moments when I completely forget why I made the change.

But, it is worth every moment and every second that I feel my life is my own and mine alone. And I am coping with it and trying to make it better, without a phone to escape to.

And, yes, I feel bored sometimes.

But it’s a blessed boredom.

Because I am experiencing it.

And it’s all mine.

6 comments

  1. I really like this. Recently i was trying to withdraw from a texting friend of mine. We would text all the time about any random thought that popped into our head (and this us on a dumb phone!) And I’ve been trying now to really enjoy having my own thoughts, not having to share every experience, every epiphany. It’s so interesting to discover that its just me and Hashem and my thoughts are just mine to have.

  2. I love this! Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. I, too have been trying to limit my smartphone use. I often find myself doing more of my studying online. If I have a Torah question, I find myself picking up my phone instead of one of the many nice commentaries sitting on my bookshelf, or my Tanakh. Lately, I have been visiting my neighbors more instead of texting. I called our trash service today instead of using the mobile app. I buy more used Judaica books intead of reading online. And I only allow enough time online to stay in touch with the news and my 1 or 2 favorite blogs.

  4. Wow so impressed with the maturity and wisdom of this young girl!

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