Friday, November 23, 2007

Delayed Gratification

My parents taught me delayed gratification ever since we were kids. I didn't realize it back then, naturally, but when we were adults, Mom used to tell us that ever since we were kids, if we wanted a toy or something, she would say to us, "Right now we don't have the money yet, so you have to wait until next month, okay?" Mom told us that actually they DID have the money already back then, but they wanted to teach us the value of delayed gratification. I find that this lesson has been one of the MOST important things I've ever learnt in life. Funny thing is that I don't recall any grudge or sadness that even from a young age, I had to wait to get something. I should remember this lesson so that I can pass it on to my children one day. ;-D

Anyway, as you all probably know, I used to work as a private English tutor for kids. Naturally most of the kids I taught had rich parents or at least had parents from middle-classes families. I remember one time I asked one student of mine, "So school holiday's coming soon. Where are you going to go with your family? Any special plans?"

He said with a derogatory tone of voice, "Euuww...we'll probably go to Singapore AGAIN. SO boring!"

I was shocked when I heard his tone of voice (as if her mother took him to the local ZOO over and over again). Right then and there I wish I could have told him that I had saved money for four years by being a part-time private English tutor while I studied at the university in order to be able to go to Singapore ONCE and that I had always cherished that one short trip. However, I don't think that he would have understood it anyway even if I had told him about it. I just hope that later on life'll teach him this lesson.

It's just crazy how SOME kids of rich parents really take money for granted (I'm not saying ALL because not all of them do this). They can get anything they want without having to wait, so they feel that they have the world in their hands.

One thing I dislike about being a private English tutor was kids who had rich parents who felt as though they could do whatever they liked since they thought, "Well, my parents pay YOU to teach me, so if I feel lazy to come over to your house, it's MY choice." Some of my students came to my house since they lived nearby, and some of them really didn't appreciate my time. They would sometimes call me 15 minutes or 30 minutes before their appointed time and say, "Miss, I don't feel like coming today. I'm so lazy, OK?" GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!! I had spent time preparing the lesson and writing down exercises and I had waited for them to come, and they could just do that to me? After a while, I got so upset that I charged them for the lost hour. I wouldn't have charged them if they were really sick or they had urgent matters, but if they did it just because they were lazy, I couldn't take it. I could've used that hour to do something else instead.

Plus the toughest thing about teaching kids was when they weren't motivated to learn. They weren't interested in learning English whatsoever. They just came to my house simply because their Mom told them to. This was by far the toughest kind of student to deal with. No matter how good I was, no matter how many lessons I gave them, if they wouldn't meet me halfway, everything I gave vanished like thin air.

Gee...I have rambled off topic again ha ha ha...I need to do my homework again: writing today's diary he he he he he...


  1. Hi Amel,
    Delayed gratification was a great lesson for your parents to teach you. I wish I had thought of that when my kids were little, however I think we probably did teach them that without even trying. At least I hope we did.
    I know exactly how you felt about those private students when they didn't show up at the last minute. I taught private piano for many years and that was really annoying when they just didn't show up and I was sitting here waiting for them to be here. I don't miss that at all.

  2. Kathy: Well, it seems to me that your kids have turned out to be good human beings. :-)))) So you had private students, too? really sucks when they didn't show up. Sometimes they didn't even bother to call and that really made me upset he he he...

  3. Mel.. kids jaman sekarang are like that... :-P I really have to teach Clay about count your blessing, always to be grateful...bla..bla..bla... it seems that my advices enter his left ear and go directly out again from his right ear.. hehe..panjang bener..
    at least something nyangkut on his brain.. hehehe..qiqqi

  4. Trinity: Iyalah, yang penting mah ada yang nyangkut. Toh sebagai parents cuma bisa do the best, sisanya tergantung si anak juga he he he...

  5. Gratitude is a key to happiness. Truly, I never did learn delayed gratification. Oh well, I'm no worse for the wear.

  6. Hi, Mel!!! Well, you seem to have been doing pretty well. Plus you get to share SO MANY good things to everybody. ;-D

  7. Hi again, M! Glad you also enjoyed reading this post. ;-D THANKS for the compliment he he...

  8. Hi Amel, I completely agree with you. You always appreciate something that much more when you have to work or wait a little while for it, it's a valuable lesson your parents taught you. I once taught maths to someone who just wasn't interested in learning. In the end I told her parents they were wasting their money paying me.

  9. I really enjoy reading about your job as a tutor. I gave tuition when I was young too and taught in a primary school as a relief teacher for a while.

    It's good to hear from a tutor's point of view. I send my kids for tuition for many years and thank god they don't cancel tuition at the last minute. I won't allow that becos I know how irresponsible that is. It's opportunity cost for the tutor. Pls all the preparation the tutor has done... anyway, thanks for sharing

  10. Hi, Amel! When I was a kid, I seldom asked for anything from my parents including money. If they wanted to buy me something, fine, but if not...I was like you. I wouldn't hold any grudges or whatsoever unlike my nephews these days. They can become so demanding, but what I observe that we need to talk 'nicely but firm' to them over and over again.

    Glad I'm learning something valuable from your story. Thanks for sharing. I'd also practice it if I have my own kids someday. ;)

  11. Fish: You told her parents about that? WOW! You're really straightforward he he he...

    Blur Ting: You also taught children once? COOL!!! And I'm GLAD to hear about your kids! ;-D

    Choc Mint Girl: You're a GOOD girl he he he he...Yeah, if kids are given everything too fast, then they become "spoilt" he he he...

    Glad you enjoyed my story. ;-D