Time Alone


When it comes to summertime, it’s easy to look forward to slow days, easy living, and front porch lingering… only to be jolted when instead, your family life resembles a three ring circus of scheduled activities, childcare crunches, and explosions of snacks, laundry, and noise. We’re not gonna lie: during the summertime chaos, a little screentime can be such a gift—helping everyone in the family to reset.

But we were recently reminded by Lin-Manuel Miranda of another good old fashioned trick that might be worth sprinkling into the summer chaos—time alone. In an interview with GQ magazine, Miranda credited his unattended childhood afternoons with fostering inspiration.

“I have fond memories of pretending ninjas were going to come into every room of the house and thinking to myself, ‘What is the best move to defend myself? How will I ‘Home Alone’ these ninjas?’ I was learning to create incredible flights of fancy…

Because of phones, we always have the ability to jump out of ourselves. But unless you learn how to be in your head, you’ll never learn how to create. Because there is nothing better to spur creativity than a blank page or an empty bedroom.”

And if you are in Kansas City this month—or anywhere on the Hamilton tour route? You might appreciate Miranda’s boring childhood moments more than ever.

Is your mind beginning to wander and dream about your own moments of childhood boredom? A recent New York Times article explains their importance: “Of course, it’s not really the boredom itself that’s important; it’s what we do with it. When you reach your breaking point, boredom teaches you to respond constructively, to make something happen for yourself…This may come in several forms: You might turn inward and use the time to think. You might reach for a book. You might imagine your way to a better job. Boredom leads to flights of fancy. But ultimately, to self-discipline. To resourcefulness.”

So the next time you hear the whines and moans from children complaining, “I’m bored,” give yourself a pat on the back, and marvel at your parenting brilliance. Then tell your kids that ninjas are coming to kick down the front door…and watch their imaginations take flight.