the schmooze


*The Yiddish word for gratification is "tsufridnkayt"

Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

Instant gratification has become our raison d'etre in 2007. We want more and we want it NOW! We want a high-definition "televisye," a Dell "kompyuter" with the new Windows Vista, perched on the kitchen counter, a DVD, a "tselularer telefon" for everyone in the family, and the Callaway FT-i driver, now selling for around $600.

The instant gratification trend is fed by an uncaring "kredit" industry. Many Jews--and non-Jews-- haven't learned that "Borgn makht zorgn"--Borrowing causes worrying.

Everyone likes to enjoy "lebn" (life), but are you willing to deny yourself a little pleasure NOW for a lot more later? This question was tested by Walter Mischel, a personality psychologist in the 1960s. The experiment was called "The Marshmallow Test."

At a preschool on the Stanford University campus, Mischel put marshmallows in front of a room full of 4-year-olds. (Note: Americans buy 90 million lbs. of marshmallows each year, and kids love to toast them over a fire.) The children were told that they could have ONE marshmallow now, but if they could wait several minutes, they could have TWO. Some children eagerly grabbed a marshmallow and ate it. Others waited, some having to cover their eyes in order not to see the tempting nash.

Walter Mischel followed the group and what did he find? "Fertsn" (14) years later, the immediate marshmallow "grabbers" suffered low self-esteem and were viewed by others as being an "akshn" (stubborn) individual, prone to envy and easily frustrated. The "waiters" were better copers, more socially competent and self-assertive, and more academically successful. This group even scored about 210 points higher on the verbal SAT tests. Yes, those youngsters with demonstrated poor impulse control at the age of 4 had grown into adolescents who desired immediate gratification.

As preposterous as it may sound, some aspects of life are like marshmallow tests. The longer we wait, the "beser" our reward.

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Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe is the author of
two books:
yiddish for dog and cat loversbook
"Yiddish for Dog & Cat Lovers" and
"Are Yentas, Kibitzers, & Tummlers Weapons of Mass Instruction?  Yiddish
Trivia."  To order a copy, go to her

NU, what are you waiting for?  Order the book!

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