St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church
The appetite of the lazy craves, and gets nothing, while the appetite of the diligent is richly supplied. Proverbs 13:4
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has reported on a fascinating study. A series of tests was done with 262 children, with an average age of 15 months. One group of babies watched an adult do a task easily, within 10 seconds. The second group of babies watched an adult struggle for at least 30 seconds, persist, and accomplish the task. When both groups of babies were then given a task to do – making a music box play by pushing a button that was inactive – babies in the first group pushed the button an average of 12 times, then gave up. Babies in the second group … who had watched the adult persist … kept at it, pushing the button an average of 23 times. Additionally, the babies who persisted longest were those who had been engaged by the researchers, with eye contact and use of their names.
It was clear: we learn diligence, we mimic persistence, and we respond to encouragement, even from babyhood. Perhaps another lesson, a spiritual one, emerged from the study: It’s not only okay to struggle, it’s good when we let others see us struggle. They learn – whatever their age – that some things are hard and not everyone succeeds on the first try. Perhaps our openness in struggling is a form of witness—and we never know who’s watching ... and learning.
©Carol Dean Henn, 2018