My almost-9-year old (!) son Sunboy was moping. “My Pokemon cards are in Daddy’s car, and Daddy isn’t here,” he said. He tried to use this cruel oppression to his advantage. “Ice cream would cheer me up,” he reasoned.
I love to nurture my kids. I wrap them in blankets. But pleas of being bored or being made unhappy by circumstances gain no ground with me. “Use your imagination and find something to do,” I tell them when they say they are bored.
In this case, I told Sunboy, “We cannot do anything about the Pokemon cards in Daddy’s car. This is beyond our control. Thinking over and over about things we cannot control is called ruminating – it’s like a cow that keeps chewing on the same grass. Not having Pokemon cards cannot make you sad. Ice cream cannot make you happy. These are things and things hold no power. You are making yourself sad over one thing and making yourself happy over the idea of another. We can have ice cream when we get home, but I want you to think about this.”
Hopefully someday these ideas will gain ground with him, perhaps it will make sense one day when he is bored and left with his thoughts.