A Thoughtful Discussion by Thoughtful Pop

(Topic: Instant Gratification)

“What are you laughing at?”

“Dad. He’s mad again. He was trying to do that ‘serious face’ thing. Slays me every time. What are you building?”

“A helicopter dog. What’s he mad about?”

“Sweet – I like the antlers. He was telling me that I had to put away the tea set before I dumped all of the baby clothes on the table again. I don’t get what his problem is – clearly, I wanted to play with the baby clothes. So anyway, I walked away from him and stuck my hand in the trash can. Then he got mad for some reason. Hey, where are your pants?”

“Hmm. I dunno.”

“I don’t think he really understands us. He keeps trying to tell me I need to finish what I’m doing before I start something else. I mean, how am I supposed to know when I am finished playing? What does that even mean?”

“Yeah, I don’t think he gets it.”

“It’s like he always wants us to do something else before we do what we want. What the hell is his problem with ‘Now’? He needs to live more in the present. We should have him read ‘Go, Dog, Go’ more – those dogs don’t get all caught up in the past and the future. They are so living in the Now.”

“God, I love that book. It does seem pretty messed up – he always does what he wants. Hey, hand me that shoe, will ya? ”

“I know! He does the dishes whenever he wants, does the laundry whenever he wants. Friggin’ hypocrite. Yesterday he was standing at the sink AGAIN and I tried to put Ellie on his hand so she could talk to me and he got all frustrated and said ‘blah blah puppet, blah blah dishes, blah blah wait’. So, I threw Ellie on the floor, twirled and picked Ellie up again and he still wouldn’t let her talk. It’s like he wants me to wait forever. It’s not fair.”

“Your twirling is getting really good, by the way. So, did he ever let Ellie talk to you? ”

“Thanks. No – he said something about getting Ellie and Stuffy and doing a show with all of them when he was done or something, but by then I was doing a puzzle. I didn’t want to listen to Ellie talk anymore; it had been at least five hours. Or five seconds. Or five years – I can’t remember which. Then he went into that bit he always does about ‘everything comes in time’ and being patient. I swear, if I hear that line one more time I’m going to start waking up every hour again – that’d shut him up. What are you doing with that shoe?”

“I’m a ballerina and it’s my phone. Why does he care so much about us waiting for stuff?”

“No idea. He talks about it and happiness a lot. He said something yesterday about ‘immediate gratifica-something’. I couldn’t hear all of it because I was dumping the Lego basket out. Though, I think it had something to do with being able to wait and getting what you really want and being happier or something. You know, it was one of his little sermons that he seems to love so much.”

“I’m happy now. What am I supposed to wait for?”

“Of course you’re happy; you don’t have any pants on.”

“Right, what else do I need?”

“Don’t ask me – he’s the one talking about it. Where’s my tiara?”

“It’s in the coloring book basket next to my toothbrush. Maybe there’s something to all of that, though. Maybe he thinks we need to consider a little more carefully that which will truly make us happy. Maybe he’s trying to teach us that, with a little self discipline, deferred rewards could bring us more lasting satisfaction than instant, albeit possibly lesser, rewards. It seems that maybe he is making a point about how impatience and a subsequently increasing thirst for indulgence could lead to a more hollow existence and, ultimately, suffering.”

“Yeah, that’s great – but I’m three. And you’re peeing on the floor.”

“What, was I supposed to stop being a ballerina?”

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