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Deferred Enjoyment: Lessons Worth Learning

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Being PatienceThe Three Little Pigs is an enjoyable story that a lot of us have heard or read in our childhood. Broadly, this tells the story of three brothers who have to set off from home into the big, bad, world symbolized by a wolf who can gobble them up. The first one, too lazy to search further, finds some hay and builds a house with it. The second one goes a little further and builds a house with sticks. Only the third one has the perseverance and tenacity to search for all the right materials with which to build a house, works hard to put them all together, and finally has a safe dwelling of stone and mortar, complete with a chimney.

It is when the big bad wolf challenge actually presents himself, that the relative strength of the houses is exposed – the house of straw collapses under the strong blowing of the wolf’s breath, and so does the house of sticks. Both the lazy little pigs have to run for their lives to the house of their brother, where they successfully outwit the big bad wolf and finally cause his end. I remember having this story read to me in childhood, with dramatic sound effects of ‘Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down!’ on the part of the wolf, and enjoying it tremendously. While I listened, an important lesson was being absorbed effortlessly as well. Broadly speaking, what I was learning was:

The easiest way is not necessarily the best way.

Being patient and hard working often leads to the best results.

A simple example of this lesson was often seen when we were eating food as children. A lot of us would hurry through the not-so-great food on our plate, and save the tastiest stuff till the very end, when we could savour it with a lot of relish. This behaviour actually showed that we had internalized a fairly important life-truth, namely:

One has to go through a lot of ordinary stuff before one hits the really tasty part!
It is obvious that these were important life-lessons that would help us negotiate a lot of situations in life without falling into the trap of ‘Why me?’ which is a classic question of self-pity.

By contrast, I worry today about the lessons that children and young adults are learning today about instant enjoyment. Are fast food and gourmet international dishes spoiling kids’ appreciation of wholesome food? Is the ‘I want it now!’ mentality making it tougher for young people to accept the inevitable disappointments in life? More importantly, are relationships crumbling today because people expect too much from each other, have less patience to wait for each other to mature, and have no appetite for anything less than perfect for themselves?

In many ways, some of the things I see happening around me make me yearn for the simple wisdom of ‘The Three Little Pigs’ once again.

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Responses to Deferred Enjoyment: Lessons Worth Learning

  1. 1 Dr. Songhomitra Panda-Jonas

    Dear Scharada,

    I´m a schoolmate from KV Colaba. Remember me ? Do you ever come to Germany ? Look me up if you do. You used to write beautiful essays at school, I remember. Mr. Papali showed me a few.



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