Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Waiting for marshmallows

At church recently, a lesson was given on patience. The lesson was based on a talk given by Dieter Uchtdorf, who used the following anecdote:

In the 1960s, a professor at Stanford University began a modest experiment testing the willpower of four-year-old children. He placed before them a large marshmallow and then told them they could eat it right away or, if they waited for 15 minutes, they could have two marshmallows.
He then left the children alone and watched what happened behind a two-way mirror. Some of the children ate the marshmallow immediately; some could wait only a few minutes before giving in to temptation. Only 30 percent were able to wait.
It was a mildly interesting experiment, and the professor moved on to other areas of research, for, in his own words, “there are only so many things you can do with kids trying not to eat marshmallows.” But as time went on, he kept track of the children and began to notice an interesting correlation: the children who could not wait struggled later in life and had more behavioral problems, while those who waited tended to be more positive and better motivated, have higher grades and incomes, and have healthier relationships.
What started as a simple experiment with children and marshmallows became a landmark study suggesting that the ability to wait—to be patient—was a key character trait that might predict later success in life.
So interesting--self-discipline is a key to success! Do you have the guts to try this with your four-year-old? :)
I did some research on this study and found this video where some motivational speaker discusses the experiment and includes footage from a modern-day reproduction of the experiment. It is hilarious to watch the kids try to resist the marshmallow. 
I wonder what the four-year-old MamaM would have done...


MamaD said...

For a second, I thought that your post was about how I couldn't wait for marshmallows to melt on the stove top and had to microwave them instead to make my ghetto rice krispy treats.

MamaQ said...

i think i know exactly what four year-old M would've done. the same thing that four year-old Q would've done.
mmmmm, marshmallows...