Thursday, March 25. 2010
Posted by Daboo in News
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Well I am reporting on the children. Yesterday I gave all three of them (you can't exclude a four-year-old without serious consequences) a mini Hershey bar, and explained that if they still had it tomorrow morning they could trade it for a bigger one, but they had to keep it with them all day. I did this to present more temptation during the long school day.
E, age 9, instantly declared she was saving hers. This created an avalanche effect of mimicry. I'm not sure how the boys would have reacted without her to emulate. Not so much conclusive. She handed her mini bar back this morning matter-of-factly and is now hoarding the bigger version. I don't think she's going to eat that anytime soon either.
Preston, age 4, kept his with him all day and often lovingly took it out and looked at it, but it degenerated over the course of the day from a perfectly respectable mini candy bar to a completely liquid form, sloshing around inside its skin of wrapper, and then a tiny, crumpled, hardened wad of chocolate and wrapper that probably was only appealing to the dogs. He presented it to me this morning with almost relief.
Skyler, now 7 (!) was extremely excited (in fact he met me outside the bathroom door this morning) to have not eaten his candy; it was, however, cracked in half, which he was worried would ruin the deal. I would feel more positive about this response except again, he is a copycat, and he got the idea from E.
Maybe the study went perfectly fine and I'm just too much of a pessimist to believe any of my children have self-control. Because the alternative is believing they all do.
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I'm very pleased at the restraint they've learned from you, as demonstrated by this experiment.
As Leo McGarry told Jed Bartlet when they were campaigning for the Presidency:
Act as if ye have faith, and faith shall be given to you. To put it another way, fake it till you make it.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with mimicry in this instance - we learn some of our best personality traits by mimicry. I'm currently reading a very fun book called "Lamentation: The Psalms of Isaak, Book 1". One of the characters, a boy of 15, got some advice once from his father that he recalls at a critical point in the book:
"Watch for the ones who leave your mouth hanging open. Study them, find out what they love and what they fear. Dig the treasure out of their soul and hold it to light. Then be like them."
As I've reflected on the post, it occurs to me that all of your children exhibited self-control whatever the reason. Even if it was only to copy an older sibling, they still had to resist the urge to satisfy themselves immediately. I think this is a reason for optimism.
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