Sun.Star Davao, Feb. 23, 2013
In the late 1960s, hundreds of four-year old kids in the U.S. were invited to take the marshmallow test.
They were placed in a small room with a marshmallow and were given specific instructions that they could eat it only if they wait for 15 minutes. If they were successful, the researcher promised that they will be rewarded with not just one but two marshmallows.
Sounds simple, right? But, of course, after only a minute of being left in the room, most preschoolers were able to delay a little longer before succumbing to temptation while others immediately gobbled up the tasty treat. Fortunately, there were also kids who survived the full 15 minutes without eating the marshmallow. The marshmallow test was actually an experiment on willpower.
Years later, when the researchers followed up on this group of kids, it was found out that the preschoolers who were able to wait for 15 minutes had lesser problems with behavior, drug addiction or obesity by the time they were in high school, compared with kids who ate the snack in less than a minute. In addition, these more disciplined kids scored an average of 210 points higher on the SAT.
“What does this experiment show?”, asks Mr. Francis J. Kong during the recent “Practical Parenting” seminar organized by the Davao Christian High School (DCHS) Parents-Teachers Fellowship which was attended by over 600 parents.
The marshmallow test only proves that discipline is the key to success and as parents, we must teach our children the essence of delayed gratification.
How many of us have experienced the embarrassing moment when our kids persistently beg us to buy a toy in the department store and when the request is denied, horrific tears and wails ensue? Even though it’s tempting to address the issue by giving in to the request, Mr. Kong assures parents that we are doing our children a big favor by teaching them to wait and earn their rewards instead of feeling entitled to them.
The multi-awarded motivational speaker suggests that one of the most effective venues where we can teach our children essential values is at the dining table. By having regular meals and developing a fun and open communication with the family, studies show that children are less likely to engage in teenage sex, alcoholism, drugs, pornography, and other teenage problems.
In addition, Mr. Kong reminds parents to “deposit more than withdraw from the emotional love bank of your child”. 90% of the time, let us “deposit” positive points by rewarding and praising our kids and lessen “withdrawals” through constant criticisms. Mr. Kong advises over-controlling parents to just “chill” and give the kids a break from time to time.
And, if we find ourselves as parents committing mistakes, never be ashamed to apologize even to your children. By doing this, we are showing and teaching them accountability.
Children, oftentimes, reflect the attitude of the parents. When the children are younger, parents should manage and control them as they need our guidance. However, when they are a little older, we could lessen our grip but still be there to lead.
Mr. Kong believes that it is healthy for our children to experience failure once in a while. After all, success is a result of 88% people skills and 12% product knowledge. It takes one to know one. Mr. Kong admits to earning a PhD or “passing high school with difficulty”. But, his early failure did not discourage him. When he reached college, he finished his degree at the top of his class.
The father of three likewise emphasized that the husband and wife should work as a team and manage a family like running a corporation. “You must conduct a SWOT analysis. As everyone knows, SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats”, explains Mr. Kong.
For instance, in the Kong household, the wife, Lilia, has more experience in budgeting because of her background in accounting and work as an auditor. So, the role of budgeting household expenses was delegated to her.
“As life is short, we are growing old; the children are growing up, let us not waste our time. Make every day count for being your children’s hero sums up the essence in parenting”, says Mr. Kong.
“The best legacy you can leave your kids is for them to know and live for Jesus Christ. Teach your kids to love God more than you”, points out Mr. Kong. And, even in this chaotic world and changing times, you know your kids will be alright.
The Davao Christian High School Parents-Teachers Fellowship (PTF) wishes to sincerely thank Mr. Francis J. Kong for conducting the “Practical Parenting” seminar for free.
Mr. Kong is the founding member and director of Inspire Leadership Consultancy. He is co-recipient of the Anvil Award for Excellence for the staging of the Dr. John Maxwell Leadership Seminar series; a recipient of the 2006 Gold Quill Philippines Award of Merit for Public Speech category; and also a recipient of the 2008 Dr. Jose Rizal Award for Excellence in the field of Journalism.
Averaging some 300 or more talks in a year, Mr. Kong holds the distinction of speaking together with Dr. John Maxwell in the country’s largest single learning event held at the Araneta Coliseum.
The speaker has been trained by Maximum Impact of Atlanta, Georgia and is now a licensed and accredited trainer for world leading programs such as Developing the Leader Within You; 360 Degree Leader; and High Trust Selling. As a writer, Mr. Kong has authored 13 books – many of which are now being used as training and reference materials in business corporations.
E-mail the author at email@example.com. Visit www.momabouttowndavao.blogspot.com.