Posted on October 26, 2013


“Daddy, I want a brownie!”

“I know sweety, but they aren’t done yet. They need to finish baking.”

“I want one!”

“I know sweety, but they aren’t done yet. They need to finish baking.”

“I want one!”

This was the exchange between myself and my daughter this afternoon. It went on for several minutes – the above is the crux of it all. What impressed me is her persistence. I understand that she’s young – almost four now – and excited about the brownies. Chocolate does that to people. But she’s demonstrated that she understands the concept of waiting. Three months ago I took an assignment with the National Guard and had to travel. I was gone five days out of the week for two months. I explained to her, every week, that I was going away for work and she understood: she had to wait until I got back to play with me again. She can handle my repeated absence, though she often cries when I leave, but she can’t accept that her dessert requires an extra five minutes to cool.


We want things we can’t have. It doesn’t matter why we can’t have them – it is sufficient that we won’t ever get them. How do we deal with this? My daughter repeats her demand over and over, seemingly oblivious to the reality of her situation. But I know she is capable of understanding. I must conclude that there’s something else going on. Denial? Hope? Denial may look like hope in the right circumstances. How do I deal with wanting what I can’t have? I’m ashamed to admit it, but I tend to do the same thing my daughter does: I keep the desire in my mind and continue seeking that which I cannot have.

There’s something to be said for persistence. In this country, we hold it as an ideal. There are dozens (or more) of movies devoted to it. I know how important it can be to not get discouraged when attempting a difficult task.

But what if the desired result is impossible?


Posted in: Parenting, Philosophy