I must have failed the infamous marshmallow test. —YouTube— Here I am 82½ years old and I haven’t gotten the marshmallow yet. At least that’s what I said to my older buddies this morning. That came about because one of our group’s granddaughters had just gotten accepted to a major university, and these old folks were beaming with pride and heaping abundant praise upon her for her hard work and ongoing success. All of that is wonderful and as it should be.
That family had other obligations and departed soon after this announcement and we remaining old dudes, or is it duds, settled into our usual routine of solving the problems of the world. My contribution to this melody was a statement about how wonderful it was that this young woman was getting so much support from her family. I mentioned that she had gotten more support from her family in those five minutes than I did from my family in my whole life. Verbal support, that is. I always felt that I was well treated by my family and my ACE score is very near zero but my PCE (Positive Childhood Experience) isn’t much above zero either. It just wasn’t in our family traditions to praise one another for our accomplishments, and there were many spectacular ones that could have been and should have been praised. It just wasn’t done.
When I was about thirteen years old I did some project in school and got some sort of reward there, but my dad’s only comment was the memorable line, “You do good work. I don’t see much of it, but you do do good work.” That is the only time I ever heard him say a positive thing about anything I did. He must have said something else, but that’s the only thing I remember, and I do remember having a conversation about this subject once with my friends at college.
Perhaps it is this lack of acknowledgment that encourages me to accept the prizes at the Science Pub contests. There are over a hundred people attempting to answer ten multiple choice questions before the lecture on some lecture topic. It is usually delivered by a Oregon State University scientist. I don’t prepare for these lectures but I usually win a prize.
I don’t much like marshmallows so it hasn’t been any suffering for me not to get one.