M. Molly Backes has some parenting advice for how to raise a writer. It's good advice for raising a kid, regardless of ambition. I'll have to bookmark it and print out a copy.
"First of all, let her be bored."
As someone who spends many hours a day online, owns piles of books that have yet to be read, a netflix queue of hundreds of films and old television shows, over 15K tracks on itunes, I'm well aware that I have lots to keep me occupied. This of course doesn't take into account studying and things I can do when I, you know, leave the house. Which is to say that I'm rarely bored.
I create empty space in my day. I have a phone without internet access. I make a point of meditating. I take time to go for a short walk or just do nothing. But it's something that I have to make a point of doing. I'm not at the stage where I need to schedule my relaxation but I feel like I'm just a few steps away from that.
I grew up without the internet. I grew up without a VCR. I remember when we got cable, before which I was only allowed to watch PBS, and after which I had a daily limit during the school year. I had a library card, but if I finished the books quickly, I was out of luck. Which is a lengthy way of saying that on a fairly regular basis I had to make my own fun. I had to entertain myself.
Where would I be if I was never bored?
It reminds me of the argument that Patton Oswalt put forward in his much-debated essay for Wired a little back titled "Wake Up, Geek Culture. Time To Die."
Being bored and being alone. I don't think these things are valued enough.