Are You Bored at Home?
1-3. (a) What do you think contributes to the boredom in many homes today? (b) Is it necessarily wrong to develop interests outside your home?
WHILE no two homes are exactly alike, the problem of boredom is common to many young people today. In the past, it doesn’t seem to have been that way so much. Years ago, families did more things together and so were more close-knit. But for many young people today “home” is just a house, a place to eat and sleep.
2 Is boredom ever a problem for you? If so, then it can greatly reduce your enjoyment of your home. Perhaps sometimes you feel like striking out on your own and finding an interesting life in your own way.
3 In a sense this is a natural development in youth. As you grow and develop, you naturally expand your outlook. Your curiosity grows. You are interested in trying new things, in experimenting. The question is, How are you going to express that expanded outlook? Does it have to make you bored with home or make you tired of having parental direction and control? What’s the real cause of most boredom, and what’s the solution for it?
ATTITUDE CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE
4-6. (a) How does a person’s own attitude determine to a large extent whether he is bored or not? (b) What could you personally do to improve the spirit in your home? (Philippians 2:3, 4)
4 True, some homes have real problems that make peace and contentment hard to come by. But more often than not it’s your own attitude that determines whether you find your homelife enjoyable or boring. Why is that? Because right within the same set of circumstances, there are some young people who manage to enjoy life, while others in the same situation are bored. The difference is that some have a better attitude about their homelife. So coping with boredom, and with many other problems, too, is largely a matter of your own attitude toward these things.
5 Why not look at it this way: Every family has a personality. This isn’t formed by any one person, but each one contributes something to the family’s composite personality. What is your family like? Is your home a warm, cheerful place? Do you enjoy one another, have interesting conversations at mealtimes, find pleasure in doing things together and for one another? Or do you each go your separate way, with little or no interest in one another? Which way would you prefer it to be?
6 It’s easy to blame others if things aren’t the way you would like them to be. But before complaining, why not first ask: “What do I myself contribute to the family personality and spirit? How much effort do I put forth to bring improvement?” If a ship is straining through stormy seas, it doesn’t help much for a sailor to sit in the corner complaining. It’s a case of “all hands on deck” and of everyone’s lending a hand to keep the ship going through the rough seas to the desired haven.
7-9. What can help us to overcome boredom in any task that we may have to do?
7 Often bored young persons simply fail to see the value of the things they are given to do. Whatever assignments you have, whether at school or at home or at work, try to see how they affect your life, also the lives of others, both now and in the days to come. If you can do that, you will be able to work at those assignments with a sense of purpose. This can make the difference between enjoying life and being bored.
8 Really, the very jobs you find boring could build in you the very qualities and habits that will play the largest part in your future success in life. To illustrate: If you’re a young man, have you ever built a model airplane? First, you had to put the many pieces of the frame together and then cover that frame. The frame might not even show in the final product. But without the strength and design it gave, the airplane would be useless. Or, if you’re a young woman, have you ever made a dress? The seams you sewed may not have showed when the dress was done. But without those hidden stitches, there would have been no dress.
9 Likewise with so much that you learn at school or learn by what you do at home. It’s part of an overall pattern that can help to lay the foundation for future success. By doing simple and often unexciting jobs or chores, even repeatedly, you can learn endurance and determination, and gain inner strength.
INITIATIVE AND A WIDER INTEREST
10-12. (a) When a person says, “There’s nothing to do,” what is usually lacking on the part of that individual? (b) What kind of recreation contributes to that lack?
10 Often the complaint is heard during periods of free time, “There’s nothing to do.” More often than not, the problem is not a lack of interesting and worthwhile things to do, but a lack of initiative, imagination and thought. Or the complaint may show we have a very narrow field of things that interest us.
11 The present system doesn’t do much to encourage initiative, especially at home. Even young people today are accustomed to be spectators rather than active participants. Is that how you spend most of the time at home, looking at movies, television programs, listening to recorded music or watching others play in some sports contest?
12 This is a lot easier than doing things yourself, or learning how to do things. But in the long run it also contributes to boredom. It makes you very dependent on others for entertainment; it leaves you unable to do things yourself to make life interesting. This is all right for babies—but not for maturing young men and women.
13, 14. What are some activities that you enjoy and that require initiative or participation on your part?
13 How broad is your field of interest? The list of worthwhile activities and fields of knowledge to be explored is almost limitless. Reading takes more effort than watching television. But it pays far higher dividends. There is no field of activity, no skill or trade, no place or people or animal that is not covered in books. And the more you read the greater your enjoyment of reading becomes, the greater your ability to absorb knowledge. But reading just to ‘kill time’ is not enough. You need to decide what is going to be of value. Then you can read with a goal in mind, one that can enrich your life right now as well as in the future by equipping you to do things.
14 Of course, not everyone enjoys doing the things that others enjoy. Some enjoy learning to work with wood or metal, while others prefer photography or gardening. Some girls may like cooking or baking, while others prefer sewing or hairdressing. But learning to do new things, at home or elsewhere, and developing the ability to do quality work will bring satisfaction and keep life interesting.
15-18. (a) How is a person’s own life affected when he makes it a practice to do things for other people? (Acts 20:35) (b) What is one of the most worthwhile things that a Christian youth can do for other people? (Matthew 24:14; 1 Timothy 4:16) (c) In any worthwhile endeavor, why is perseverance important?
15 When you find it hard to get enthusiastic about doing something in your own interest, why not do something for someone else, starting at home? A task that might not appeal if you did it for yourself can take on real interest when you do it for another—a family member, a friend, particularly someone in need. This is deeply satisfying, and there is no end of opportunities. Don’t wait to be asked to do something. When what you do is unexpected by the other person, the added element of surprise will greatly add to your enjoyment. Try it out.
16 Here’s another way you can benefit by doing things for others. Young people who are genuinely thrilled at God’s promise of a new order find that sharing this good news with others gives added meaning to their lives. To find persons who are hungry for truth and to be able to help them is richly rewarding. Though these are outnumbered by those who reject the truth, this does not dull the stimulating effect of this activity. Instead it makes it more challenging. It calls for endurance and faith. These are big factors in conquering boredom.
17 The apostle Paul says of our service to God and to those who serve him: “Let us not give up in doing what is fine, for in due season we shall reap if we do not tire out.” (Galatians 6:9) Similarly, when you seek to develop abilities that have some real purpose and value, you should persevere until you begin to harvest some of the fruits of your labors.
18 Then, as time goes on, you can broaden your exploration of still other abilities to develop, and you will become a better, more interesting and worthwhile person as a result. Your parents and others at home will be glad to have you around, and you will be free from being bored at home.
[Picture on page 68]
Trouble at sea calls for full cooperation. Do you help to steer a peaceful course when there are troubles at home?