Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Please Be Bored

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My Ellie girl is obsessed with "watching Kates."

Translation: Scrolling through the 1000's of pictures of herself and brother bear on my phone. She especially loves the videos. I don't think she's self absorbed (I mean... she's 2, so yeah, she is... but not any more than any other INSANE toddler muddling through the hardships of the word "no.")

I think she likes the memories. She likes to remember the things that made us laugh or to see how small she used to be. She points out places that we've visited and foods that we've eaten. She wants to hold a moment from the past in the present for a little bit longer and soak it up. I FEEL IT TOO ELLIE GIRL.

I really think this phenomenon is one of the reasons that social media has become the obsession of our culture. We want to share the pictures that make us feel proud and excited with everyone we know. We want it to last a little longer. If we post something, it isn't buried in an endless camera roll anymore... it's public to the world wide web to adore alongside us.

I like all of this. I think it's good. (Such quality sentences there. I apologize to my high school English teachers for the lack of thought expansion.)

Another big thought: I don't think it's bad. (Hold on to your hat.)

Social media has lots of dangerous land-mines, but I don't think its inherently bad. As with most things, within good boundaries, it can foster good things. Through the use of social media, I've been pushed into fervent prayer, been updated on important information, LEARNED HOW TO COOK STUFF ON THOSE RECIPE SPAMS, and left countless emoji hearts as a picture of my love for all the squishy babies of the earth. If you post dog pictures, I'm sorry... It's not my jam.

BUT.

I hate that we've taught ourselves not to be bored.

This is where device time starts to sneak out of its healthy boundaries. (For us, the boundary is called "take your brain out" time. This begins 1 milisecond after the last baby has laid their precious head down to sleep and mommy and daddy collapse on the floor in exhaustion. This usually lasts about 30 minutes until we have regained the stamina to hold a conversation.) I've realized lately that the trouble comes when our phones come out just because we're bored.

When I'm rocking a baby and I'm trying to be very quiet. I'm a little bored.

When I'm sitting with EK watching Daniel Tiger and... guess what... the plot twist where Daniel realizes that the emotion he is feeling is actually called "jealousy" ISN'T ACTUALLY THAT EXCITING... I'm bored.

When conversation has a lull.

When we wait for food, appointments, or friends.

I think one of the most meaningful things we can give to each other is our full, undivided, undistracted attention. Our kids crave it from us. We crave it from each other. It designates something as extremely valuable. Being bored isn't bad. It peels our eyes off of a screen and places them on the person that we are sitting next to.

So instead of scrolling through other people's baby squish while rocking, I'm admiring my own. If I'm not afraid to be bored, I might stare for whole minutes at their little sleepy faces. I might be prompted to pray for them. Or I might be like Mason and take time to "literally not have any thoughts!" (Men. I can't imagine.)

When I watch a movie with Mason, he gets irritated if I scroll while we watch. Even though, legitimately, I scrolled through the last terrible movie as nightmare prevention. (Save your dollar, don't rent "No Escape" if you ever want to sleep again.) I think Ellie feels the same value when I sit and watch her favorite show with her. It doesn't matter that it's not entertaining for me. It's not always about me. She feels loved when I choose to enjoy something that she loves with her.

If I'm bored in a conversation and reach for my phone, it takes away the tension that would have forced me to think about another topic or share something meaningful. It takes away the time that is needed to formulate and use really thoughtful words.

OBVI I'm a work in progress on this mess.

Let's be mature (read: "ma- tour" like an old lady) enough to create boundaries and be present with our people. Let's be bored again.