When I was a child if ever I uttered “I’m bored” my mother always replied, “Then you have no inner resources.” As a child I thought I was missing some internal organ and possibly might need some sort of transplant. Now as an adult I realize I have no lacking of “inner resources”, in fact this blog is proof of this. But, I also have come to realize that with all the abundance of electronic items with which children can engage they’ve lost touch with how to tap into their inner resources.
Enter the Idea Box.
The Idea Box was invented one summer when my son was feeling at loose ends. He actually said, “I’m bored.” Gasp! I heard my mother’s voice in my head say “Then you have no inner resources”, but thanks to a great filter I answered, “Then lets help you develop some ideas.”
He and I cut lots of small pieces of paper tickets (all the same size) and wrote “doing” ideas on them. One doing idea per ticket. Some of the ideas I wrote were fun: make a comic book with you as the superhero or create a backyard obstacle course or build a fort out of the sofa cushions. But, some of the ideas on the tickets were not as fun: take a nap or sweep the front walk. In truth most the ideas were fun, but the not fun ideas gave an element of risk and made it more interesting. All tickets were placed in a small, previously decorated box and labeled “Idea Box”.
The way the Idea Box worked was if you ever said, “I’m bored.” you must select, without peeking, a ticket from the box. You must do whatever was on the ticket. He seemed to like the game aspect of the Idea Box and would say, “I’m bored” when what he really meant was “I want to pull a ticket from the Idea Box and see what I get.” Either way. The important thing is it helped him tap into his inner resources and I could proudly report that my children did not inherit the genetically defunct inner resource.