If I could spend every day doing whatever I felt like doing, I suspect the last words I’d ever utter would be “I’m bored.”
Yet those are the exact words my wife and I hear every day when we return home from work.
Apparently a home filled with televisions, electronic gadgets and games, or an outdoors with a backyard with plenty of space to play, a grandfather willing to drive them to the swimming pool or parks nearby just aren’t enough to entertain our brood of children anymore.
No, they want to be entertained.
If you really want to amuse the children in your life, here’s a bit of trivia for you. At least for my children, today marks the exact halfway point in their summer. They got out of school May 27, and they return Aug. 25, making July 12 the mathematical center of those dates.
That’s right, bored kids, you’ve already wasted half your summer. And that’s right, exhausted parents, you’re on the home stretch now.
My children, who apparently forgot how much they said they loathed school in its final months, are looking forward to it. They tell me they’re eager to return to their friends, days full of activities and, yes, even the joys of a cafeteria lunch.
Until then, they seem to rest all day, just awaiting that magical time when we return from work.
In their heads, that’s also the moment the nightly party begins. That’s when their parents, fresh off a relaxing day of solving problems at work and getting yelled at by strangers, bound into the house with endless energy and play whatever games they might like.
That’s when a selfless parent will drag them onto a trampoline, take them on a bike ride or, if the weather’s wet, pull out a board game to make the night fly.
I blame TV for these unrealistic expectations. You always saw Ward Cleaver walk through the door and say, “Hi, honey, I’m home!” You never saw a beaten-down Ward open the door and say, “You won’t believe the garbage I had to handle today.”
Some of the more modern shows my children watch seem to dispel with the idea parents work at home. There’s almost always a parent around, often even working wherever the child might be otherwise. Or maybe they’re working from home.
Sitcoms in my youth mostly involved dads who barely knew their children’s names, much less their interests and an expectation they’d play their favorite games. If one of those dads ever heard that someone was bored, they would’ve been given a chore list.
But life is no situation comedy. Instead, you try to meet people somewhere in the middle. You try to give them a few good minutes of playtime before admitting to them you’re exhausted from the part of your day that pays the bills.
While it’s certainly routine, I’d never call it boring. I know the carefree days of summer are numbered. There are 45 of them left, to be exact, and we’re going to try to enjoy them however we can.
David Trinko is managing editor of The Lima News. Reach him at 567-242-0467 or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.