“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Hebrews 12:11 (NASB)
Delayed gratification is not designed for our enjoyment. It is designed to train us for life. Although culture tells us we can have it all RIGHT NOW, we know deep down that the best things take time and patience. You cannot instantly have a fifty year marriage…you have to nurture it the other 49 years.
If we master delayed gratification we get out of our own way and let life come to us. Our experiences have more depth and richness.
Our culture thrives on the opposite…instant gratification. We can order almost any item we desire within minutes and have it on our doorstep within days.
So how do we teach our children the value of delayed gratification in an instant world? We make them wait.
Example: My son really wants a skateboard. He has wanted one for about a year. Amazon could have it here by tomorrow, but what would my son learn?
Would he learn how to earn and save his money? No.
Would he learn how to research a product, test it out in the store, and read reviews? No.
If I rush out and buy that skateboard all he learns is consumption. He will lack ownership and will not value that skateboard. And if he tires of riding it, he will toss it to the side without hesitation.
Conversely, if he puts his chore coins and birthday money towards a skateboard that he has tested and dreamed about…he will not toss it to the side. He will remember the feelings of waiting, saving, and dreaming.
We have to make our children earn things, wait in line, say “no” to purchases, and make sacrifices. Otherwise we rob them of ownership.
It is not an easy task but worth it. Someday our kids will be adults with jobs and money. Let’s teach them how to wait now so they are mindful consumers then.