Delayed Gratification…there are few more useful skills

Phones feature very heavily in our lives.

Our little man has had a fairly constant obsession with screens since he came to live with us some years back. Neither he, nor we, know why, although we have discussed the issue at some length.

He’s also an avid and discerning TV viewer, particularly if the show features any kind of family. The Simpsons, Modern Family, The Goldbergs and Shameless have all been consumed in their entirety.

‘I don’t know why I like phones so much. Maybe, before I can remember, it was all I had to play with. Or maybe, my Birth Mum was always on her phone and ignored me. We will never know. There’s no one to ask’. The Little Man’s theories were as good as anyone’s.

Derry Girls has also been a popular choice, and one I’d recommend. A group of girls, with a tag along Englishman, attempt to navigate life in the 90s. It is set in Derry, but you might have worked that out yourself. It’s a wonderful mix of hilarity and poignancy.

One of the girls also owns a Burger Phone (a cheeseburger phone if you want to be precise).

You don’t have to be a girl and be from Derry to be a Derry Girl.

Research on Amazon, Ebay (other online shopping options are available) revealed that Burger Phones are still available and generally retail at £14.99 or thereabouts. The Little Man wanted one more than ‘anything in the world’.

This gave us two problems.

1. The desperate need for a Burger Phone began on a Sunday. Pocket Money day was not until Friday.

2. Pocket Money was £10. Maths told us that he would be £5 short.

It was a dilemma!

Science has incontrovertibly proven that many of the world’s problems and frustrations are caused by Maths.

We came up with a solution and a strategy. It was crazy and it was wild and it had never ever worked before. We were going to experiment with Delayed Gratification.

If you’ve grown up with a degree of security, you can assume certain things.

Day will follow night. The weekend will come at the end of the week. Summer will follow winter. Your Mum or Dad, or at least someone you know, will be waiting to collect you from school. There will be milk in the fridge. There will be a fridge. There will be electricity which means the fridge will work.

For a kid whose formative years were spent with few if any certainties, waiting until Friday had always been beyond him. However, we thought we’d give it a go.

We drew up a contract promising the necessary additional funds (£5 if you’re struggling to work it out) to be paid on Friday (in 5 days time if you’re struggling to work it out).

Contracts are based on trust and a quid pro quo arrangement. “If you do this, I’ll do that”. If you’ve constantly been let down, you’re more likely to have developed ‘suspicion’, ‘indifference’ or ‘despair’.

1. Make your bed

2. Tidy your room

3. Get yourself ready for school

4. No, or at least minimal, use of the F-word, S-word and definitely no C-word.

We all signed and I have to admit, I didn’t think he’d manage it.

But he did.

Watching your order steadily approach your home is a popular activity in our house. It can fill a whole day and is viewed with the same excitement as a trip to the cinema or Disneyland Paris.

His obligations and duties duly completed, the order was placed, and the phone arrived.

The excitement in setting it up was palatable.

We were excited too. The Little Man had shown he was able to delay his gratification. He was learning to trust that Amazon, and his family, would deliver.

For the first time in years, we now have a Landline. The Little Man phones himself on it because no one else has the number. We assume he’ll soon start getting cold calls from Insurance Companies and nuisance calls from my Dad.

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Birth parent, Foster Carer, Adopter and Recruiter of Foster Carers for Liverpool City Council

2 thoughts on “Delayed Gratification…there are few more useful skills”

  1. This is surely akin to getting a degree in this kid’s world! Super proud parent moment! In our lives the highs can be very different, but still taste just as sweet, if not sweeter than the usual milestones all kids reach ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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