The other day, I quietly waited in the dental office scrolling through my Twitter account and reading through my Facebook feed. It was a typical day, nothing out of the norm. It was the usual routine to keep myself busy while waiting the endless wait at the dental office.
Next to me sat an older lady, possibly a grandmother or a nanny, with two elementary aged boys. At first, I thought it was adorable that both boys wanted to sit next to the grandmother or nanny. It was at that point that all of my beautiful images of this family began to slowly crumble.
The boys did not want to sit still. They wanted to watch the fish and walk around the waiting room. They were, after all, being curious boys exploring the room. The boys were not being disruptive. They were just being boys. The older lady started to yell at them. She was annoyed that the boys would not sit down next to her. How can any elementary aged child sit still without any form of entertainment? It’s almost like imprisoning them for being bored. She could have asked them to play a game like counting the fish or, better yet, brought something to entertain them from home – a book may have been nice. No, the yelling seemed to resolve her problem, but cause everyone else in the room to be agitated by her lack of patience.
After I left the dental office, I began to wonder whether we have become a world of impatient people looking for perfection. I suppose you can say that I too was impatient in that I relied on my social media to keep myself entertained. Nonetheless, I found a way to entertain myself. I’m sure that if I didn’t have entertainment, I would also be running around exploring the dental office – though I’m not sure how that would look.
We all need to create boundaries, but in situations where children will be completely bored, we need to accept responsibility and help them find a way to resolve that boredom. The dental office had so many magazines. I’m sure the older lady could have found an imaginative game to play with the children. She could have done a “Where’s Waldo?” kind of game where the children could have searched for a car or a dog.
Constantly scolding the children did not solve the old lady’s problem. It only made the children throw a tantrum, get yelled at loudly, sit for a moment sulking, and continue again with their initial activity. It was a cycle that continued throughout the time we waited.
The old lady could have prevented the drama if she spent time with the boys. After all, these boys were not toddlers. They were just bored. All that’s needed is patience and creativity to solve most problems….