Bored, distracted, and overstimulated

Bored, distracted, and overstimulated

Last week during his homily for the Mass at the Proud2BCatholic Music Festival, Fr. Stan Fortuna responded to people who say they don’t go to Mass or they don’t like going to Mass because “it’s boring.”

“You are deeply and profoundly bored before you walk into the church, and when you come into the presence of the Almighty in the fullness of love, it is then that the awareness of your boredom begins to bubble,” he said.

Many people merely distract themselves from their boredom by turning something on, changing the channel, upgrading or downloading. This constant activity only “feeds the boredom beast,” he said.

We often get remarks from people that Isabella is such a well-behaved girl, especially at Mass. It’s rare that she gets really fussy to the point where we have to leave nave and head for the chapel; that’s only ever happened less than a handful of times.

Part of the reason is just personality. Some kids are naturally quiet; while others are naturally boisterous. It has nothing to do with how the child is raised; it’s just part of his or her nature.

But I think there’s also an element of parent action involved. A common bit of advice we receive is to provide constant external stimulus for Isabella, whether it means bringing books or toys or snacks to Mass to keep her “distracted”; i.e. pacified. Other times we’re encouraged to get “edutainment” videos for her to keep her occupied and entertained. We generally don’t do either.

Isabella very rarely watches television. The only time it’s ever on when she’s awake is when I’m watching a sporting event or some kind of cooking show. (I flipped on the TV this morning and the Tivo was still paused in the middle of last Sunday’s NASCAR race.)

Craving stimulus

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli