Did you know that delayed gratification is an emotional intelligence attribute? It has many facets that affect our lives daily. It often demonstrates putting someone else’s needs before one’s own. We may need to manage our own needs in order to take care of ourselves physically and emotionally. Discipline, though it often has a negative connotation, is part of the ability to delay gratification. How does this relate to our current lives and surviving a pandemic?
Putting Someone Else’s Needs Before Our Own
As children we are quite self-absorbed. Our needs are immediate and want to be gratified immediately. Child-rearing presents us with daily dilemmas on meeting children’s needs. Do we respond immediately to maintain our own sanity? Do we begin to teach them to wait and suffer the tantrums that often accompany their acquiring discipline and patience? So many factors enter into this decision. Delaying gratification is not innate and a critical skill that requires teaching. The consequences of not learning this skill follow us through life. However, we are now experiencing its effects globally. We now depend on others to meet our needs for safety and life itself.
Service Is How We Teach Delay of Gratification
Children need to learn service from the time they begin to demonstrate some form of independence. Service to you as parents is how it manifests. They need to not throw their food or toys off the highchair. Learning to entertain themselves in their cribs till you get to them. Picking up their blocks and keeping their spaces organized and ready to enjoy the next day. Service then extends to others. Helping grandma though they rather go play. Feeding their pets before they get their snacks. Helping with a family or community project. They become less self-absorbed and put others needs before their own. Delaying gratification is critical in child-rearing until they leave your home.
Delayed Gratification And The Pandemic
Those of us who know how to delay gratification of our own needs, respect the needs of others. Every day I go to my “Happy Place” to have lunch and experience nature’s bounty and beauty. And yet, no one is wearing a mask. I watch the news and see how many people are putting others lives in jeopardy because they are not able to meet the needs of others let alone their community, counties and states. We have the greatest preponderance of infections in the world. We are a country that does not have the childhood skill of delaying gratification. Just wearing a mask is all we are asking and yet, that is too much to ask. Call it ignorance, call it rebellion, call it immaturity, call it Trumpers. This is what the lack of emotional intelligence looks like and the inability to delay gratification. We all need to be in service to each other to save each other’s lives.