Would You Eat the Marshmallow?
My husband and I decided to give our grandson a one year subscription to the National Geographic For Kids magazine. Chris was in the back office – he processed the order, paid on line and received an automatic email response, notifying him that it would take 4 – 6 weeks for Phoenix to receive his first magazine in the mail.
Chris wandered into the kitchen and commented, “It seemed strange…NOTHING takes 4-6 weeks anymore.”
It’s so true. We live in an instant gratification world where all the pleasures of this world are on tap at any moment.
Need to be entertained? Grab your remote control.
Hungry? Microwave that dinner, tear open that bag or head to a 24-hour fast food joint.
Want to buy a watch at three in the morning, while you’re sitting in your underwear? Let your fingers do the walking to Amazon.
Need to talk to a friend? Send a text.
Want to know when the original True Grit movie was made? This trivia answer is just a click away.
SO, IN THIS DAY AND AGE, WHY WOULD WE NEED TO WAIT 4 -6 WEEKS FOR ANYTHING?
I’ve got a great answer – Because it does us good to wait.
In the 60’s, a Stanford psychology professor conducted a fascinating experiment with a group of four year olds. He brought the children into a room, one by one and said something like, “You can eat this marshmallow if you want but if you wait fifteen minutes, I’ll come back and give you another marshmallow as well.” Then the adult left the room and the children were filmed.
Two thirds of the children ate the marshmallow right away. The other children struggled greatly but were able to exercise self discipline and wait until the adult returned.
Fifteen years later, researchers found those children, who were now twenty years old and every one of the children who had exercised self discipline with the marshmallow had become successful in both their careers and relationships. Most of the children who had not exercised self discipline were not successful.
Interesting findings, right?
There’s definitely something to be said about delayed gratification. It’s good to want and to wait. It’s good to anticipate and look forward to a holiday. It’s good to wait for things to go on sale. It’s good to make long term investments and it’s good to save up for that bicycle that you really want.
Phoenie could walk into Chapters and pick up a copy of National Geographic for Kids but instead, he’s going to come home from school one day and be delighted to find his magazine waiting for him in the mailbox. That’s fun…and that’s delayed gratification.
MAKE A MOMENT TO MUSE
- Which child would you have been in this experiment?
- Can you think of a time when you waited for a long time?
- What are the benefits of waiting?
speak truth: Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27.14