1 Nov 2014
This past week I discovered for the first time the true value of boredom. After this, I never gave it too much thought. When I wore a younger man’s suit, I had so much activity I did not have time to be bored. But now, that seems to be behind me, far behind me.
Two of our grandchildren were at the house for a sleepover, which on the surface seems like a very pleasant evening. Of course, they only had half a day of school so they were at the house right after lunch. So, from lunchtime all the way through till breakfast the next morning they were energizing our house.
I had forgotten how much energy a person has when they do not have to carry around a lot of age. I suppose I was that energetic when I was their age, but whose memory can go back that far?
It all started out very nice with a lot of activities in the afternoon leading up to suppertime. By this time, I was wearing my age on my sleeves and I was not wearing a long sleeved shirt. They were inside, then they were outside, then they came back inside to tell me what they were going to do outside and then they went back outside.
I do not have many virtues, I grant you, but one virtue I do have is that I know my age. And with my age comes a great deal of limitations when it comes to energetic activities.
I can sit in my chair for hours reading a book or writing an article. But when it comes to going outside and chasing children who are chasing a ball who then begin to chase you and then you fall down and they jump on top of you, that is a different story.
Right around 3 o’clock, I looked at the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and ask a simple question, “How soon is supper?”
“Silly Grandpa,” she said with a hearty laugh, “we just had lunch.”
I sighed a lack of energy sigh knowing that we had several hours yet to play.
Being as careful as I could, I snuck inside and collapsed in my chair only to be found out by the two little grandchildren energizing our domicile. They came screaming into my room, jumped on me and began our infamous tickle game. I am not quite sure, but I think this lasted at least 10 hours.
A thought creaked in my head. Even at my age, I can entertain a thought or two on occasion. So, without any consultation whatsoever with my wife, I made an announcement.
“Who wants candy?”
That simple announcement got their attention and drove them like a magnet into the kitchen straight to the candy jar jumping up and down in anticipation.
“One rule with the candy,” I explained, “you have to eat it outside.”
I had a willing and compliant audience and filled both hands with as much candy as they could handle. Screaming with delight, they rushed for the outside where they could set at the picnic table and indulge in the candy.
I headed back to my chair where I could indulge in some non-activity.
Supper finally came and with a lot of noisy chatter and laughter we ate our supper.
I left the table and went to my chair to relax a little bit and watch a little bit of news on the TV. I was almost dozing when I heard some chatter next to me.
“Grandpa,” I heard the dual sing, “we’re bored.”
“Why don’t the two of you sit down and read a book together?”
“No, we want to have fun!”
And so fun we had as I abandoned my boredom extravaganza.
Finally, it was bath time, closely followed by bedtime. It took almost an hour to talk the two into bed and convince them to go to sleep.
After a day of using so much energy, I was in the mood to welcome a large dose of boredom.
In the quietness of the evening, both my wife and I sat in our chairs listening to the sounds of silence.
In thinking about the activities of the day, I came to one conclusion. As draining as grandchildren are, they are more than welcome in my home. I know I only have a small repertoire of energy, but I am glad to spend it on them.
As my wife and I sat in the silence, she broke the silence and said, “Aren’t grandchildren the best?”
I thought for a moment and came to full agreement with her. My wife is usually right on everything and on this thing, she was absolutely right. I enjoyed the sounds of silence because I had enjoyed the excitement and turmoil of grandchildren in the house.
I thought of Solomon in the Old Testament. If anybody was an expert on being a grandfather, it was him. After all, he had seven hundred wives, and three hundred concubines and who knows how many grandchildren danced around his throne. Solomon said, “Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers” (Proverbs 17:6).
Boredom is something that most people do not really appreciate. It always has a negative connotation, but in the right perspective, boredom can be a reward for lots of activity.