When I was a teenager, we didn’t have iPhones or even internet.
If I wanted to talk to friends, I had to spend time with them, in person.
And, like a regular teenager, that’s pretty much all I EVER wanted to do.
All I cared about was going out and having FUN with my friends.
My Dad was a bit of a worrier.
I was the first child, and, I am a girl, so it’s understandable.
I remember when I would ask him if I could go out, he would often say No.
“The answer is NO.”
I would challenge him. Of course. - “WHY can’t I go!?!? Everyone else is going. It’s not faaaaair! I’m soooo BORED!!”
And his answer to my question annoyed me to no end.
He would say “ because Diana, it’s GOOD to be bored. You need to learn how to be BORED. I am “training you” to be bored.”
And, of course,
“ I don’t care about what everyone else is doing. I care about YOU”.
I don’t know if anyone else was ever told this by their parents. But it literally drove me up the wall with absolute frustration!!!
How could I win that argument!? (And some might have said I was pretty good at coming up with compelling arguments, even back then.)
But this one stumped me.
How could being bored be a good thing???
Why would you need to “train” someone how to be bored?
And anyway, Kids don’t need to be “trained”, I would say! Outrageous!
We aren’t dogs!!!!
I see now my Dad is actually a very wise man.
When you were bored, back before we had constant and endless stimulation from technology, you had to find other things to keep yourself amused.
Listening to music.
Playing with siblings.
Writing in a journal.
Organizing your room.
Figuring out ways to win over your parents with valid arguments!
I think the new generation could learn a really good lesson from being bored once in a while.
TRAIN your kids to be bored.
That’s not the end of it.
Even though I would try very hard to convince him, I knew that “No meant No”. But I was tenacious.
I would sulk. Stomp around a bit. Cry in my room in hopes of him feeling bad and changing his mind.
(Highly unlikely, but worth a try!)
I’d call my friends on the phone and loudly tell them that my annoying parents wouldn’t let me go and how unfair it was.
I’d even resort to a little begging.
After a while of putting up with my “antics” he would say “Enough, Diana. If you continue, you won’t be going out next weekend either.”
I knew it was over.
Eventually, I would accept it. Pretty quickly actually.
I would move on to stage 2 - and start to think about how I could increase the likelihood of getting a Yes next time I asked.
So, I would apologize to my dad for my behaviour. I would try to prove to him that I meant what I said.
I would do things to please him. I tried to charm him. I would make him laugh and watch his shows with him that I really found “boring”. I would chat with him about things I knew he found interesting.
I’d do little things for him that I knew he would like, to get him in a good mood for the next time I wanted something.
Not because I was being manipulative. Because I really did love my dad and wanted him to be happy and for us to get along. And those times made us closer.
Then, when I would ask next time.....
Sometimes he would say
I would repeat the same cycle over again.
And that’s ok.
Because saying sorry is good.
Being nice and doing things to make others happy is good.
Learning to be charming is a good life skill to have. (Or used to be)
When he did say yes, I was actually HAPPY and GRATEFUL and and excited.
I made sure I really had a good time.
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