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delayed gratification: a decaying concept

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  • Eric Pfeiffer
    I  haven t seen this term in use for, well, many decades.  As I journey across the web from general news format like NBC or Yahoo, to more specific formats
    Message 1 of 1 , May 30, 2013
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      I  haven't seen this term in use for, well, many decades.  As I journey across the web from general news format like NBC or Yahoo, to
      more specific formats like Market Watch, CNBC, most of Bloomberg, and an unending plethora of narrow interest web sites, the focus is
      entirely about living for now including the mass of news portending the end of humanity (which is also about living for now as there
      is no tomorrow for humanity).
          Why have kids if there is no tomorrow?  Why have kids if resources are about to run out?  Why have kids if the global economy is about to collapse?  Read Market Watch for a week if you dare and you will conclude that the economy is about to collapse because: 1) debt has destroyed our economy, 2) inflation will destroy our economy, 3) deflation will destroy our economy, 4) today's students will be impoverished by debt for the rest of their lives, 5) the US government is corrupt and about to collapse, 6) pensions and social security are Ponzi schemes and about to collapse, 7) health care is socialist and needs to collapse, 8) the stock markets are manipulated and about to collapse, and on and on.   Knowing all of this, why would any young person consider delaying gratification and have children now since there is nothing but overwhelming misery approaching in the near future except as an unintended accident of living for now?
             So who would be the most likely groups to have children in this situation?  Those that have no internet access or those that
      are illiterate as they would not have access to all of the above information and those that reject what they are being bombarded
      with as media rubbish.
           Does the concept of delaying immediate gratification and engaging in the tremendous work and sacrifice of raising children have any place in today's global culture?  As a single parent for 20 years of my life raising two boys, I recall a staggering workload and unending sacrifice. That job is long done now. I learned optimism from this as things did work out with patience and undying effort.  Constant problems popped up and all were resolved some way or another. Energy efficiency was desperately important in all ways. Devising new ways to be energy efficient was both a short term win and an even longer term win as the short term gains became huge long gains as compounding worked it's way through those decades.  Raising children is the antithesis of the "live for now" culture. It is simply not very much fun.
          Children are a long term investment.  The bottom line: this is a "buy and hold long term" type of investment. Try to find any article praising an investment strategy that does anything but condemn the "long term buy and hold" strategy. 
         It's as story about choices and societal attitudes.  EP

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