There's Nothing to Do. Really?

"There's nothing to do. I'm bored!"

Every mom has heard those pitiful words from her young child at some point. But in recent years I've heard those same words from full-grown adults. Most often I've heard the sentiment expressed about the offerings of the mid-size town in which I live. 

"There's just not much to do here," I hear young moms and dads say. "There was so much more to do where we previously lived."

I grew up in a small town about an hour's drive outside of Atlanta with two parents who didn't believe in driving into the big city every week (or even every month). Since then I've lived in even smaller towns as well as larger cities. I've lived where there are major league baseball teams to root on and I've planted myself where little league games were the highlight of the week. I've lived where we had our choice of every fast food chain and restaurant imaginable and I've lived where a trip to the Dairy Queen was a true treat.

Trust me, there is plenty to do in this isolated, but good-sized town in which I live now. We have mountains to climb, movies to choose from, restaurants to dine in, an indoor/outdoor pool to splash in year-round, play groups out the wazoo, and so many parks that I haven't even found them all yet.

The bigger problem, I think, is that our worst fears have come true. We have indeed, over that past 30 years, raised up a generation that doesn't know how to entertain themselves. And before you get the idea that I'm preaching to you from my lofty perch, let me set the record straight. I've whined about the lack of things "to do" myself at times. Regardless of our ages, most of us in America have become a people who crave spoon-fed entertainment. Maybe it's because we were raised that way, or maybe the culprit is all the time-savers we now have producing extra free time we struggle to fill.

I think it's time we reassess how we spend that free time. If we don't want our children to grow up demanding even more avenues for entertainment (and trust me, we don't), then we'd better start teaching them how to use their time in more productive and yet still enjoyable ways. Instead of demanding to be entertained, let's take the high road and get creative with our time and energy. Let's develop some better uses of our Saturdays and evenings and summers. And let's teach our children to chart their own free time courses.

So here are just a few suggestions for what you and your family might do the next time you're tempted to say, "There's nothing to do."

When our kids whine, "There's nothing to do," we try to give them creative solutions to the age-old problem. Maybe it's time we get a little creative as the heads of the household, too, and resist the urge to complain that no one else is entertaining us. 

What creative solutions would you like to add to my list? I'd love to hear your ideas for creatively filling our free time.

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