Delay Gratification? NO WAY!

by Lorraine Esposito on September 19, 2012

in You as a parent,Your kids

Article first published as Delay Gratification? NO WAY! on Technorati.

The message about instant gratification may have gotten an unhealthy social update by rap star Drake.  Kids and young adults are adopting his Motto as an excuse for recklessness, “You only live once: that’s the motto [explicative] YOLO.”

“When I see “YOLO” in a tweet, I know instantly that something unintelligent and cocky is going to follow.”  Robyn Dexter, campus editor of the Eastern Illinois University’s Daily Eastern News

Seems it’s becoming more important that we get this whole instant gratification/YOLO thing straight for our kids—and ourselves.

Here’s the truth:  No one delays gratification.

That’s right, no one delays gratification.  When you stop yourself from eating a donut, you’re rewarded with temporary sacrifice gratification.  When sacrifice no longer gratifies enough you eat the donut.

Not eating donut = gratification

Eating donut = gratification

Back in the old days . . .

Technology shouldn’t be blamed for the ruin of our attention spans.  Bah! to any suggestion of virtue for waiting for snail mail or rotary dialing a telephone.  We’ve always moved at the fastest possible pace.  Instant gratification has always been important it’s just that technology keeps redefining the meaning of “instant.”

  • The Pony Express defined “instant” communication in 1860 by the number of days to carry mail across the country (averaging 12 to 14 days)
  • In 1927 instant gratification meant the 14 minutes it took to place a call from New York to London
  • The 1980s saw the 1G analog network redefine “instant” into 9 kilobytes per second—roughly one encyclopedia page per second.
  • Then comes 3G and 4G digital networks claiming to increase “instant” to as much as 9 megabytes per second—the collected works of Shakespeare is 5 megabytes.

Go for Gratification!

One thing is certain, human nature means that our kids can’t delay gratification for long and everyone pays dearly for trying.  The denied gratification gets paid back all at once by binge eating, drinking, shopping, reckless behavior, etc. with YOLO as the motto.

Instead of preaching denial, help kids learn how to include gratification into their overall objectives; building more gratification and less sacrifice into every milestone.  The journey will be much more fun and they’re more likely to arrive at their destination.

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  • beckyblanton

    ooohhhh…I LIKE this! What a great way of thinking about it…yes, cleaning my sink at midnight so I can go to bed with a clean sink is instant gratification…because I can look forward to getting up to a clean sink the next day, and I’m gratified because I finished a chore and strengthened a habit!

    • Lorraine Esposito

      It’s awesome when a chore feels good now and later. Thanks for chiming in Becky.

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