The Lawrence Welk Show. If you are under 30 years old, or maybe under 40 years old, you probably have never heard of the show. However, I am a bit older, and I can tell you a bit about the Lawrence Welk Show. It ran for four years locally in Los Angeles from 1951 to 1955, and then nationally, from 1955 to 1971, followed by first run syndication from 1971 to 1982. And, if you happen to walk in to an Assisted Living facility, it may be playing on a TV somewhere through a local cable network, most likely on the Assisted Living Channel. If not there, try the Memory Loss channel, and you will be sure to find it.
There are a total of 1,065 episodes overall.
Now, when I learned that particular statistic, it came as a shock to me. It was because, as a child, I was forced to watch the Lawrence Welk Show every single week. Just, at the time the show was going to go on, I hid in my room, hoping my parents would forget. But, it never worked. Five minutes before he show was going on, my father would come into my room and order me:
“Come sit with the family!! The Lawrence Welk Show is coming on!!”
So, I spent the first twelve years of my life watching the Lawrence Welk Show. Just until now when I learned about the 1,065 episodes, I was always under the impression that I was just watching the exact same episode every week. At least, it certainly seemed like I was watching the exact same show every week. Perfect looking grown-up white people with perfect happy smiles dressed in matching clothes, with bright colors that I can only imagine was designed by Baby Gap, singing sappy songs and dancing in a way that slowly turned your brain to mush. It was as if some evil genius enemy designed the Lawrence Welk Show to be this secret weapon. They would get every American to watch the show, we would all go into a deep trance, and while we were in this pseudo-comatose state, they could simply walk in and take over.
I actually imagined that when I was watching the show. I would study my parents closely just in case they would fall asleep, and I would wake them up so we would be ready for an enemy attack.
It was so boring!!!
But, I look back at these boring times as a fond and nostalgic memory. It is because with iPhones, games, gadgets, and 500 channels on cable, we are no longer allowed to be bored. Our brains need to be stimulated every moment of every day. “Are we there yet? I am bored,” is a line that is rehearsed by every preteen at the Annual National Preteen Convention.
When a child tells a parent that he or she is bored, it is a charge to which the parent immediately pleads guilty, and accepts the penalty to provide years of constant stimulation until the child turns 18, or at which point the child is diagnosed with Attention Deficit Order, whichever comes first. At that point, the parent will be required to medicate the child in order to increase their ability to focus on more and more stimulation.
But, stop and think a moment about the word “stimulation.” There are marketing efforts to encourage ourselves to stimulate ourselves with food, and once, we are over stimulated, we are sold all kinds of diets. There are marketing efforts to gamble, or to use alcohol, and once we are overstimulated, we are sent to groups to deal with this problem And if our minds become overstimulated, we can no longer focus, and we are sold drugs to take care of that problem.
Quite simply, there is a lot of money to be made to create problems for people, and more money to be made to help people solve those problems. Unfortunately, there is very little money to be made to teach people on how not to get into that problem in the first place.
But, it starts with practicing boredom. If you are in a car driving six hours on a boring highway, you are supposed to be bored. If the kids spews out the CrankaTsuris, “I am bored,” there is nothing to do, but say “I guess the boring drive works.”
Boredom is crucial to our personal journey to creativity. When I watched the Lawrence Welk Show, it forced my mind to search all over for creative thoughts. If you are sitting in class, and the teacher is doing the best to put you to sleep, you may learn through your doodling that you have the talent to be an amazing artist. If you are learning to play an instrument, it is boring to play the same notes over and over again, but at some point, you may be creating beautiful music. If you are trying to learn a new language, it may feel like weight training. It may hurt a bit, but your muscles are getting stronger.
Think about that for a second. It is a bit counter-intuitive. Your brain is telling you to stop doing the thing that is exactly what is good for the brain. Just like the brain will tell you to do something that is bad like “have another drink” or eat another Bon-Bon.”
Always think of the brain as being two separate brains. One is the smart brain, and the other brain, much less so. Think about the work you have to do to give the smart brain a louder voice.
So, if there are continuous CrankaTsuris battles over boredom in your house, the strategy is to turn boredom into a practice or a house rule. Create a new “normal.” Have a “quiet time”, a “reading time” or some time of the day where we can simply daydream. Start a writing journal. Think of what would inspire you. We are making the brain muscles stronger even if the not so smart brain says it wants something else.
Even more important, the other big CrankaTsuris point with the practice of boredom is that it is also the practice of patience. Patience leads to tolerance, and leads to kindness. It leads to be able to slow down things in our mind when it comes to self-diagnosing the CrankaTsuris within ourselves, and be better prepared with empathy when we are on the receiving end of a loved one’s CrankaTsuris.
And, the more you practice boredom, the less CrankaTsuris episodes you will have over boredom. And the less CrankaTsuris you have over boredom, you will find that you have less and less of all kinds of CrankaTsuris.
“So we learned to be careful not to express out inner TyrantoCrankaTsuris or TyrantoKvetchTsuris too often. Just the right amount to keep the planet happy and not too cranky.”