Suzanne Reisler Litwin: Quietly, Sit & Stare

“I’m bored”, my young child occasionally said to me. My response was, “Good! Think and create!” Although extreme boredom is not a good thing. Actually, anything extreme is not a good thing. But… being bored is a golden opportunity to think, ponder, wonder and allow creativity to enter your mind.

Within my first two creative writing lessons, I tell my students the same thing. “Creativity takes time.” Allow yourself the time to think and wonder. Creativity can’t be forced. It comes from within your soul into your mind. But it takes time. It might take many minutes staring out a window, relaxing on a park bench, watching the ocean, or observing people. Resting time creates creativity.

So when I hear that children are bored, I get excited and think of what they will do with their time. What will they create? What world will they go into and become something unique. Where will their imaginations take them? Where will they go?

Perhaps adults don’t have the same impulses for a flourishing imagination. Busy life and problems come into play every day. Actual freedom and playtime never really exists unless you go on a planned vacation.

Suzanne Reisler Litwin: Quietly, Sit & Stare

If we could just channel our childhood spirits and imaginations, perhaps we could then be our best creative selves.

I savor the idea of being bored. The thought of having nothing to do…as there’s always something to do! The thought of having no place to go… as there’s always some place to go, especially to help people. The thought of not thinking and just being bored is impossible for me. What about you? Do you find yourself bored?

Sitting quietly somewhere affords you the opportunity to think, in deep thought.

Every teacher in elementary school complained to my parents about my “staring out the window.” When school started, I asked to sit next to the window. That didn’t last long. I was quickly moved to the row closest to the classroom door. That made for a much longer distance to stare out the window. Then I sat in the front row, which strained my neck. That’s when I complained about being unhappy.

I stared out the window as a method of meditating and creating. As students we were asked to read a story and answer questions about the story. I would stare out the window. Not because I didn’t know the answers to the questions, I was searching for a creative way to answer them.

During my favourite art class, we were given an opportunity to paint. I stared out the window searching for what I wanted to paint. “Suzanne! Suzanne! Pay attention and start your painting, we don’t have all day!” It’s true, we didn’t have all day, but my mind needed to compose the painting before I started.

“Mrs. Reisler, I must state that Suzie spends way too much time staring out the window. I’m concerned she isn’t focused on her work. Perhaps she has an attention disconnect. Maybe you should look further into this?”

My mother heard this every year during my elementary school career and maybe a bit in High School too. She thought I was bored. I wasn’t. I was searching for ways to be creative and… that takes time! I managed to get my work done and I created super things. But, it took time. Perhaps more time than I was allotted during a typical school day.

I still stare out the window. A LOT!

One amazing teacher in Grade 6 asked me what I was looking at. It gave me such pride to tell her I was looking at the world beyond the world. She accepted my response and never questioned my staring out the window again. From that day on I loved Ms. Chess.

It was from these experiences, I learned the value of just sitting quietly, staring and allowing boredom to find me.

For parents of young children, when your kids tell you they’re bored, tell them it’s great to be bored. Don’t entertain them. Don’t buy them new toys. Don’t do much for them. Let children be as they will become creative and find their way. If you want to help the process along, just give them a very big empty box with some markers. That’s all they will need to get something wonderful started. Scissors and tape will help too.

With bored adults, some paper and a pen is all they need. Toss in some music and soft lighting.

Sit quietly.

Stare out the window.

Let time be your creator.

— Suzanne Reisler Litwin

— AB

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