“Mom, I’m bored.”
The plaintive comment came from a child with cell phone in hand, headed toward the kitchen with no particular plans for the day. Mom is the usual source of ideas for activities.
Bored child had been trained for years to be such. Activities served like smorgasbord, requiring no effort or cooking skills. Just show up and eat. Television always on. No creativity tools lying around in the family room. If it is not suggested or offered by Mom, it doesn’t exist.
If this were a Jesus-parable, bored child would be taught independence from a young age. If the child can’t think it or create it, the activity doesn’t exist. You can hear helicopter parents gasping at the lack of structure and the seeming randomness of the parenting.
If this were a Jesus-parable, bored child would be the church, and mom would be professional staff hired to keep spoiled, bored church members occupied. In the parable, bored child grows bored with the sponsored activities and goes looking for the next thrill.
Recently a family at our church decided to have a pumpkin carving and invited anyone else that would be interested. A large crowd showed up, some bringing pizza, others cookies, and a party broke out. They did not depend on a professional staff to organize a pumpkin carving activity in the church fellowship hall, and the consensus was that it was a great evening.
The thing that I love about church plants is that they give the opportunity to develop self-reliance and thus eliminate the bored child syndrome. No more “hey Mom, I’m bored.” Instead, a group of people who learn how to throw impromptu pumpkin carving parties without needing a paid staff to hold their hand.
It’s not unusual to see our folks praying for each other in an FB Messenger prayer chain or keeping each other’s kids when the need arises or helping to furnish a fellow member’s apartment after being kicked out by her husband.
There’s no “hey Mom, I’m bored” around here.