The one word that my father banned in our house was any variation on ‘boredom,’ and Mother sang in unison, which was a bit unusual.
They both felt that there was a world of opportunity out there or inside us and helped us to foster our imaginations from before we could remember.
There was very heavy control over television watching so that we didn’t become couch potatoes and we each had 30 minutes TV time a day – after 5pm and before 9pm. This involved doing all sorts of deals and pouring over the television listings to make sure we had the timings correct. When my sister went away to school her 30 minutes went with her.
Being outdoors was part and parcel of growing up. Simple things like skipping, making a steeplechase course in the garden with Big Bro, building tents out of old sheets and sticks, playing tennis against any wall that could withstand it, collecting wildflowers, bird-watching, tending our little plots in the garden, going for cycles, picnics or cycling picnics, playing catch, football, cricket …
Mother and Dad participated in these activities but ensured that we could come up with our own imaginary games.
Wet days were all about wellies and raincoats, splashing in puddles, watching the clouds, seeing the trees bend in the breeze, going to see the sea in all weathers when we lived near it…
Indoor activities were special too: baking, drawing horses, getting to use the puzzle books that Mother had hidden away for really rainy days; playing cards, board games, doing jig-saws, making up rhymes, pillow fights and, of course, reading. I was the least ‘ready bones’ in the house and plagued the others to do more active stuff, as I saw it.
I still think and feel that ‘boredom’ simply shouldn’t exist but I think now that I have my parents to thank for that. Others certainly weren’t as fortunate as me.
Where does ‘boredom’ fit or not fit in your life?