Free Will Power: Are You Up For the Ocsober Challenge? This is Why I Am!
‘…what separates us from the animals. It’s the capacity to restrain our impulses, resist temptation – do what’s right and good for us in the long run, not what we want to do right now.’
Roy F Baumeister, (eminent social psychologist)
Why is Fostering Will Power in our Children Important?
I can remember watching an hilarious TV show as a child, in which 4 year olds were presented with a square of chocolate and given the choice to either eat that piece immediately, or wait 20-minutes and receive a second chocolate square. Of course, 20 minutes is a very long time to a 4 year old and I remember laughing as we watched them sniff at the chocolate, squirm in their seats and try to resist the urge to nibble it just a little. Some of the children lasted the whole 20 minutes and reaped the promised reward of doubling their stash, whilst others barely considered the option and popped their square into their little mouth without hesitation.
“Don’t eat it!” I remember yelling at the TV screen. “Just wait and you’ll get even more!”
I didn’t realise it at the time of course but the test was based upon the Stanford Marshmallow Test conducted by Professor Walter Mischel in the 60’s and 70’s, in which children were rewarded with a second marshmallow if they were able to resist instant gratification and refrain from eating the first marshmallow presented to them for 20 minutes. Interestingly, the study found when they revisited the same children – that a child’s ability to exercise their self-control and will power was correlated to their success in later life.
When you think about it more closely, it makes sense, doesn’t it? For example, children that demonstrate mental strength and willpower are less likely to succumb to peer pressure, and see past the instant gratification of substances like drugs and alcohol, and recognise that it is better for them to say ‘no’ to these things in the long run.
Modelling Self Control and Will Power to Our Children
The best way to ensure our children emulate the good behaviour and make healthy choices of course, is to model it ourselves.
Do as I say, not as I do, just won’t cut it!
But let’s face it, abstaining from a square of chocolate or a marshmallow in front of your child for a 20-minute period, isn’t going to cut the mustard, is it?
Free Will Power This Ocsober
This October Life Education are encouraging Australians to find their willpower and show their friends and family that they can stay off alcohol for 31 days. Slightly more difficult maybe than resisting a marshmallow, but not only will this demonstrate and model mental strength and self-control, it will also raise money to enable Life Education and everybody’s favourite giraffe, Healthy Harold to continue to deliver health, drug and alcohol education programs in schools across Australia.
And this is why I will be signing up…
Does forgoing relaxing wine-time for an entire month excite me?
No, not at all! I’d go as far as to say it sounds awful!
Do I think it will be easy?
Erm…No. Definitely (and somewhat sadly) not. I do enjoy a glass or two particularly at the end of stressful day of kid-wrangling.
Am I used to attending social functions and not drinking alcohol?
No! In fact, if I am honest, I would probably rather stay home and not go out at all, than be the only person sober at an event. That’s really bad, isn’t it?
Do I want my own children to develop will power and self-control that will stand them in good stead for their teenage years and beyond?
Yes, yes, a thousand times YES!!!
And who knows…there could also be the added bonus of being able to slip back into my jeans comfortably by the end of the month!
Join Me and Free Your Will Power This Ocsober
You can sign up to participate in Ocsober and raise money by cutting out alcohol this October by visiting www.ocsober.com.au
Once registered, inviting family and friends to sponsor you is easy. You can even get a group of friends, family or work colleagues together and create a team fundraising page.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. However being from a family with a history of alcoholism educating children and young people about the dangers of alcohol is something I feel very strongly about. Writing this post has caused me to take a long hard look at my own habits and relationship with alcohol. My initial reaction to the thought of a whole month without alcohol was ‘I could never do that!’ And this is precisely why I should! It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!