Those words used to bring my mother to her knees when I was younger and may have been one of the biggest reasons she returned to work by the time I was in junior high school.
Back in those days, once the final school bell rang, the kids in my class would race home for roughly three months of fun and sun. Well, the sun usually lasted all summer, but by the end of the first week my mom was well prepared for that two-word sentence that would ring in her ears for the next 10-weeks.
"I'm bored," I would pronounce as I walked into the kitchen where she was usually busy cleaning.
She would shuffle me outside and tell me I needed to find something to do. This usually would result in a trip across the street to find my best friend who was also very bored.
Well, the times have certainly changed. These days if a child walked into his mom's kitchen and announced to her that he is bored something would be wrong.
The philosophy seems to have changed since I was a kid and today kids have a wide variety of activities to choose from all year round.
I would think that most mothers would not have time to clean the kitchen instead they must run a chauffeuring service between soccer, baseball, golf, swimming and in-line hockey. There seems to be an infinite amount of activities in the summer to keep kids from getting bored.
When I was younger we had little league baseball, but between games we would wear a path in the front of my father's yard playing the game "pickle." For folks who are not big fans of baseball, that's two bases, at least two infielders and a base runner. The idea: pick the base runner off and keep him from getting to the bag safely.
Today it's a wonder kids want to do anything in the summer. I would even bet after a winter of hockey, skiing and several other options kids wouldn't mind having a little break.
This new era of activity for children has its good side and its bad.
First the good. Activities hopefully give our kids broader interests and help them form friendships with other children of their own age. In theory, they also keep them out of trouble by keeping them busy.
The bad side is that it means as parents we are constantly trying to keep our kids entertained.
Back when I was a kid and my mother told me to find something to do eventually I did.
My friends and I would always find something to fill the hours. It may have been playing baseball in the park, a game of basketball on the driveway or a heated game of checkers on the front step. We rarely spent hours being bored and most summer nights we hung around each other until well past dark. We may have thought we were bored at times, but it was amazing the things we found to do.
I can still recall those long afternoon hours with my buddies trading baseball cards in the front yard. I also played several organized sports, but I can't recall the guys I played with or even how many games we played in a week. These days some of the details from practices I went to three times a week seem a little foggy and I couldn't tell you if we won or lost more games.
Please don't take me wrong. I think organized sports have a very important place in our community and in the development young athletes. I have seen a very positive side to organized sports as part of my job.
However, I do think that in today's world we are a little afraid of letting our kids be bored. My fear is that this group of kids will grow up, always expecting to be entertained. I hate to think that someday they will be bored with just about every activity and have to find new and more destructive ways to stay entertained.
Our world is already filled with tons of must-dos, meetings and scheduling demands. There I times that I would like to chuck it all, walk into my mother's kitchen and tell her I can't find anything to do.