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The Magic Word

When I was a kid, “please” was the magic word. Whenever I asked for something and forgot to use it, I was immediately reminded by an adult who said “What’s the magic word?”

For Simon, the magic word is “tomorrow”, and it’s not anything we pushed on him. He seems to have realized all on his own that “tomorrow” takes the stress out of decision making, as it mitigates any loss that comes from choosing one thing over another.

Say, for example, we are deciding which book to read before bedtime. It may be late, or Simon may be rubbing his eyes. For whatever reason, we have time for Green Eggs and Ham or The Cat in the Hat, but not both.

“Simon, what do you want to read tonight? We only have time for one story.

“Green Eggs and Ham. And The Cat in the Hat tomorrow when it’s good morning time.”

Well, that was easy. Then there’s:

“Simon, do you want to go around the block by turning on Chichester or by going down the alley?

“The alley. And Chichester tomorrow. [He remembers the next day, fyi.]

Easy enough. But what about when a gooey treat is on the line?”

“Simon, do you want the chocolate cupcake with the rose on top, or the yellow one with the cookie?

“The chocolate one now. And the yellow one tomorrow.”

We laughed. There’s some wishful thinking in action! But as it happens, he did have the yellow one the next day, as Matt and I treated ourselves after a busy (and dusty!) day cleaning his office.

What I find so amusing about this is that I have struggled for ages to keep my options open and control uncontrollable urges to eat, spend, goof off, etc. And here’s my 3 ½ year-old son, successfully managing his own expectations and minor disappointments by  being mindful that there’s always, always tomorrow.

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