You can learn a lot about someone by the way they act when they’ve got more than someone else. Some people tend to hoard their goodies, while others are happy to share their blessings with others.
When someone posted a question on Quora about sweet things children say, a physicist named Richard Muller chimed in with a surprising answer that has hearts melting across the internet.
The question was “What’s the loveliest thing a child has ever said to you?” There were over 100 answers in the thread, but Dr. Muller’s answer really stood out. Muller, a physics professor at UC Berkley in California, replied that he’d performed a simple experiment on his 3-year-old granddaughter, and her reply definitely suited the question at hand.
“OK — it was not my child but my granddaughter, but I still think it counts,” Muller began. “I had read somewhere about the marshmallow test. You give a child a marshmallow, and then say that if she (Layla, in this case) could keep from eating it for 10 minutes, you’ll give her a second.”
So I tried that test with my granddaughter (not with marshmallows, but with chocolate, which she likes much more). According to extensive experiments, children who ‘pass’ the ‘marshmallow test’ are far more successful in life. They have learned a fundamental truth in life, that delayed gratification can lead to a far better long-term outcome.
She sat and watched the chocolate. The 10-minute hourglass finally emptied, and she had succeeded. She asked for her second piece of chocolate. I gave it to her, and now she had two in her hand.
That’s when she looked up at me and asked, ‘Would you like one, Grandpa?’
“Needless to say, from that moment on I would readily give my life for her,” Muller concluded, and we don’t blame him a bit.
That is indeed one of the sweetest things a child could ever ask. Little Layla already understands that delayed gratification can sweeten the reward, but she also has an innate empathy in her. Her first instinct is to share, not hoard, and that truly is lovely! Parents try to instill these virtues in their children through example and teaching, but some kids seem to just ‘get’ it.
Please share this story to spread the warm feeling of love conjured by Muller’s simple experiment with Layla.
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