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In Defense of Boredom

June 8, 2018

Twenty-seven years ago (yes, that’s right), the poet Kurt Cobain summed it up nicely when he sang, “Here we are now. Entertain us.”  Whether speaking about Gen Y or Millennials or the I-Generation, Cobain captured in six simple words what many have written endlessly about for the past three decades.

Children today don’t know how to be bored.

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Free Agency

May 18, 2018

Parents have often asked me for suggestions for summer, the subtext usually being that summer might be a good time for their children to learn a foreign language or advanced calculus. That might be a bit ambitious, I suggest, but perhaps reading a couple of books might be a good thing.

But even this bit of advice gives me pause because of an experience I had very early in my teaching career. I had assigned summer reading to my incoming 8th grade English students. Actually, I assigned one book and asked students to choose one or two others from a list. None of the selections were very long, and I thought they were pretty good reads. I felt no qualms about doing this. After all, who could argue with reading a couple of books over the long summer?

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