We live in a society of immediacy. We know this and we often say it. The problem is that this very evident culture has a direct impact on our little ones as they are developing as people, and they end up believing that they can obtain things quickly and with little effort.
Content for children has to be brief because if it lasts longer, children cannot keep their attention on it. Bags of potato chips have an immediate free gift inside. I remember a Calvin&Hobbes comic strip in which a young Calvin is about to put a pizza in the microwave and he is reading the back of the box: "2 minutes!?" he shouts, outraged: "I haven't got that kind of time!". Could our children be similarly impatient? If they are, it's because adult society is no different. Tweets on Twitter only have 140 characters. Reality TV shows turn people into celebrities overnight, and they appeal to mass audiences.
We are living in this "I want it, and I want it now" society, but it isn't real. We need to make children realise that not everything can be obtained so easily and immediately. They need to learn that some paths take longer to get to where they are going than others, but that this doesn't make them any less appealing, on the contrary, being longer they will have more interesting twists and turns. We need to show children that the last step is not necessarily the most important, but that each step is equally important and helps us to learn new things. Woody Allen famously said that it took him 40 years to become an overnight success. And that is right. We all sometimes need a carrot dangled in front of us to make us walk, but having it one metre in front of us is very different to seeing it on the horizon.