The first time I used the 'B' word at the age of five, I remember the expression on the faces of my parents. Mom's heavily kohled, dancer's eyes blazed fire, as she shook a warning finger at me. "I do NOT want to HEAR that word in my house again!" she grated, as Dad looked at me, his brown eyes crinkling in amusement. "Let her be!" he smiled at Mom, who let go of the topic unwillingly, and went back to her book.
Dad looked at me, an eyebrow raised. " Do you know that only people with no imagination use this word?" he asked me. I shook my head vehemently. He continued, with a twinkle in his eye. "Just remember! The next time you feel like using the word, just stop yourself. You don't want others to question your grey matter, do you?" I certainly did not want anything of the sort. After all, I had my pride to think of, didn't it?
After lunch, when the grown ups took a siesta, I would steel myself against using the dreaded 'B' word, and instead, take my pail filled with water and make my way outside. I would collect all my toy pots and pans and make mud pies in all shapes the whole afternoon. I would painstakingly decorate them with round pebbles, little beads, glass shards and strips of ribbon.
Thus, as I grew up, the 'B' word was a taboo word, and I made sure that my daughter also never used it. When she would come to me, and tell me that her friends used it regularly, I would repeat Dad's words about people with no imagination. She would listen to me, her eyes round as she pored over what I was telling her, in much the same way that I used to do, as a child,
As a result, every time the 'B' word came to her mind, she would create colourful paintings, or write short stories, if she was at home. Her father and I encouraged her to go out and play with her friends every evening. "But no using the 'B' word, OK?" would be the last thing she heard before she gambolled away joyfully.
And so it has been with all the children in the family - my oh-so-literal writer of a nephew and all my bubbly talented nieces. who write, sing, dance, act and entertain! For them, time is precious, to be used well and creatively. Which is exactly why they have no time to use the word that they have been banned from using all their lives, that dreadful 'B' word - BOREDOM!