An idle mind can surely get in trouble. Summer boredom is a common malady for youth who do not have employment and/or family responsibilities. However, boredom does not need to happen. As a side note, parents sometimes fail to take time to teach their children practical skills that prepare youth for adulthood: shopping for and preparing nutritious food, operating a vacuum cleaner, changing a flat tire, maintaining a lawn, sewing on buttons, or washing clothes, windows, and vehicles. Character and Skills for Home and Careers is a PAC elective course loaded with these types of projects. Parents can be involved in, or help create, the projects for real-life experience and students can earn transcript credit in the process.
A practical method of preventing teenage summer boredom is to assign some “thinking” projects that cause youth to reflect on things greater than “sitting around doing nothing.” Here is a list of “thinking” projects that can keep youthful minds occupied with substantial thoughts that affect outlook on life. Ask the unoccupied youth to reflect on, research, and prepare a project relating to one or several of the following questions and considerations:
- Why does hair on the head continue to grow, while body hair grows to a certain length and stops growing, but will grow back if cut or shaved?
- Why do all snowflakes have eight points, yet all are different? Or how are all pine trees identifiable, yet no two are alike?
- Why do people with light colored head hair often have light colored eyes, while people with dark head hair often have dark eyes?
- Since toe and finger nails continue to grow, how did people cope before invention of nail clippers and scissors?
- How is it that teenage females tend to sing more easily than males at church or other public gatherings?
- If you knew that you couldn’t fail, what would you try to accomplish in-order-to bring fulfillment in life to you or other people?
- How do migratory birds, insects, fish, and animals know how, when, and where to go? Trace a migratory route, and consider food, seasons, and dangers.
- Describe the absolute predictability of planetary rotations and orbits, tide ebb and flow, sunrises, and seasons of the year?
- Consider the fact that all planets, stars, elements, and body organs have distinct mathematical frequencies that can be detected and identified. How is that possible?
- Why do anger, bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, and depression often show up in the lives of people who have been assaulted, ridiculed, taunted, abandoned, or abused? Can anything be done about that?
- What allows some people to express love, forgiveness, compassion, and joy even if they have experienced abuse, teasing, abandonment, assault, or injury?
- Why do substance abuse, anger, and retaliation fail to produce long-term relief from emotional turmoil? Is long term relief even possible? How?
- What causes hummingbirds to fly to the original location of feeders that have been moved? Experiment to observe how they adjust to new feeder locations.
- Consider the variety of plants that grow from the same plot of ground at various seasons of the year, and how those plants participate in the migratory routes of animals, insects, and birds.
- What is the purpose of life? Have you discovered your?
- Is there someone in your neighborhood who needs encouragement or help?
- Apply your unique talents, gifts, and interests to express your responses: photography, art, music, singing, writing, dexterity, or agility.
Another benefit to parents by asking such questions is to prompt youth to realize that they do not know as much about life as they sometimes think they do. We all do not know what we do not know! But, we can discover a lot if we determine not to fall victim to summer boredom.