If one desires a metric that exemplifies society’s decline, then one could hardly do better than the marshmallow test. It tests a child’s ability to delay gratification. Being on the farm as child, I learned this very quickly. It has done well by me in my life. It should be standard equipment in everybody’s life. Alas, it isn’t.
In the days of times past, children could see how their parents worked and struggled. The children worked and struggled also. Through all of this, the ability to delay gratification was developed. If it wasn’t, then events such as “freezing while drunk in an alley” were likely. Why was the ability to delay gratification important? It allowed people to do two classes of things,
1. To continue and complete work that needs to be done. This work was typically an investment in the future.
2. To avoid impulsive fun things that may be detrimental to your investment in the future.
So what about today? Children are brought up with little to no responsibilities. They often have their every whim catered to. And when young women reach an age where they suddenly attractive to the opposite sex, what will they do? They will undoubtedly do what they have always done through their childhood, give in to their impulses. Of course, there is a significant likelihood that if they start down this path that they will become damaged in some way; harming their ability to be a good mother and contented wife.
But one can make the case that it isn’t really all their fault. The adults in the room never cultivated delayed gratification. And in this specific case, they very possibly did not warn of the dangers of ahead. This all appears to be a dereliction of duty in being a parent in my eyes.
Perhaps we should go back to an agricultural based economy. One where children have chores that need to be done. And if they are not done, the livestock dies. Would that drive the point home?