Faith Formation

Creating space for boredom

November 6, 2014
Lifelong Formation

Today’s guest blogger is The Rev. Canon Rebecca Kirkpatrick, Canon for Faith Formation: 35 and Under for the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, and also serves as the Episcopal Chaplain for the University of Washington in Seattle.

Summer is Coming…

Every year at this time, I re-read “Doing Nothing is Something,” an essay by Anna Quindlen. Written more than a decade ago, this article still rings true today: doing nothing is something for kids.

Through much downtime and ‘boring’ summers, Ms. Quindlen was able to become her: more fully human.

She writes:

“Downtime is where we become ourselves, looking into the middle distance, kicking at the curb, lying on the grass or sitting on the stoop and staring at the tedious blue of the summer sky. I don’t believe you can write poetry, or compose music, or become an actor without downtime, and plenty of it, a hiatus that passes for boredom but is really the quiet moving of the wheels inside that fuel creativity.”

Downtime. Every kid needs it. We live in a world of over engagement: scheduling every minute, television, video games, online social networking, homework, commitments…the days become long and the years short while living this way.

Consider creating space for your child where they are invited to just be: to think, to create, to find adventure, to read, and to be outside. Yes, you will hear your share of the “I’m bored” and “please, just 5 more minutes of x” and “you’re so unfair.” Those voices will hopefully steadily still and you will be left with a child who has time. Time to be. Time to create. Time to think. Time to be outdoors.

Speaking of time to be outdoors, I would put in a good word for camps.

Yes, there are the specialty camps: rock-climbing, computer coding, yoga to name a few. They are awesome choices. But what can be as fun and rewarding AS classic camp? Classic camp is being outdoors, sleeping in rustic cabins, learning how to string a bow in archery, making a tie-dye T-shirt in crafts, swimming in the pool, and playing tag in the meadow.

The Episcopal Church offers many classic and faith-filled camp options around the country. To find one near you, click on The Episcopal Camp and Conference Center website:

How are you creating space for downtime this summer?

David Stickley

Formation Associate