Friday, February 26, 2010

You Can Take the Girl out of the Church...

There's not many traditions that have stayed with my from my Catholic upbringing - I even do Christmas begrudgingly - but for some reason lent is one of them.  Ruth has a thought-provoking post up about lent teaching us to appreciate delayed gratification, and in it she refers to this experiment:

If you skipped the video, they've found that people who can delay gratification do better in life, and you can tell who these people are by the age 4.  There's many of these experiments on You Tube, and one thing that strikes me is how different 4-years-old can look and be.  Some of the gobblers seemed like they just needed another few months of life to get to a point where this might be possible. That being said, I think my 5-year-old would shovel it down before the experimenter left the room.  Maybe I'll try it on her tonight. 

This study has been used in creating what feels like a self-help book called the Time Paradox.  The only thing the book seems to have going for it from the ad is that author is one Philip Zimbardo, famous for his pivotal prison experiment in the 70s.

But the point of the experiment is, if we can teach our kids to wait, they can rule the world - or at least do a bit better in school and socially.  And I wonder how much waiting six weeks for junk food or TV or whatever we gave up as kids actually helped us along the way.  Six weeks is way longer than 15 minutes, but we had many distractions to take our mind off things. and we were all in it together.  And Easter's at the end of it all.  We didn't care for the hollow bunnies - giant bricks of chocolate was where it was at. We'd gather round and break off bits with a knife like savages with a long-awaited kill. 

My youngest is being raised very differently than the older two and from how I was raised.  I used to a parent with no TV and not even cookies in the house.  Now we have cable even, and chips and cookies are an everyday part of life.  My little one also has an extended family that indulges her every whim, and for me, I find it too hard to constantly battle consumerism with teenagers in the house.  If they don't get it here, they just hang out at someone else's house.     

I practice lent as a personal challenge myself, just to see if I can, to test my will power.  It's actually from February 17 to April 3 this year, but I haven't had a beer since January!  Wish me luck. 

I leave you with this video, and to wonder why no guys have long hair like this anymore - and how 'bout those shorts!

1 comment:

Ruth said...

Thanks for the link, Marie. This is an excellent video and the book mentioned would be a good resource for parents. They mention that our culture no longer supports delayed gratification and that makes it even more challenging to engage in the desired true.