We have all heard this statement. Heck, we’ve all said this statement.
I remember hearing author, John Ortberg give a talk about this very thing, and it had a huge impact on our parenting. When kids say this, a parent’s first response is to begin suggesting things to do. Those things are most often met with “Nah” until they finally agree to the most expensive and most elaborate idea.
Instead, he suggested that you invite them into the solution. He would tell his kids, “Wow you’ve got a little problem there. I’m so glad you have such an amazing brain that will be able to figure out something to do.”
The first time I tried this on my kids, they looked at me funny. They said, “Wait, what?” And then I watched something really cool happen. They looked at each other and said, “What do you think we should do?”
It felt like there was a parting of the clouds and that “AHHHHHHHH” singing moment. I no longer had to be involved in the “problem” and they developed this sense of strength as they solved that “problem.” They actually stopped coming to me with “I’m bored” because they knew it was not my problem to solve. They used their imagination and collaborative skills to come up with a solution on their own. It was brilliant.
I will forever be grateful for that one small sentence.
If you’d like to read more from John Ortberg (he really is a wise man) you can check out his website here.