Lessons come from many places and at any time. Sometimes we get a lesson from children. I would like to share with you a few that I learned yesterday – lessons from childrenn. Yesterday the weather was fit for a postcard. I left the office at lunch time to go to The Bell Tower shopping center to pick up some tailoring I was having done on a new suit I recently purchased at Jos. Banks. First I walked through Saks Fifth Avenue to see if I could bump into my daughter Nicole and invite her to lunch. She runs the visual department there. We had a tardily served, but delicious lunch at what used to be called Dragonfly (Maybe the new owners need to work on their branding. I have no idea what the new name is, or even if there is one). I asked Nicole if it was OK to pick up her son Adi from preschool and take him home for the evening so he could spend the night with Gail and I and his cousin Jacob.
I finally got home with Adi about an hour later. When we were last in Chicago, Gail purchased two gifts for Adi and Jacob at the Field Museum; essentially an egg the size of a large mango. If you know anything about preschool boys, you know that they know more about dinosaurs than Fred Flintstone ever did. They are absolutely fascinated by them. When Gail came home after picking up Jacob at his preschool, she presented both boys with these eggs. These are cleverly designed. They come in a box with two very simple tools; a digging stick about three inches long and a similarly sized brush. The idea is that the child becomes a Paleontologist. He must excavate a dinosaur from this brown “Plaster of Paris” egg. They do this with this large toothpick and brush.
Our two budding paleontologists spent one and one half hour excavating while I watched and listened. The only other thing I have EVER seen them do for that long a period of time is sleep. They picked, they brushed. They compared progress. They very slowly saw a small dinosaur emerge. The suspense and the promise of success kept them glued to their tasks.
Once they finally got them out and washed them in the pool water, you would think they found the Hope Diamond.
This is lesson number ONE. When you have to work very hard to achieve something, it is worth more. If Gail had simply handed the boys two baby plastic dinosaurs, there would be no other value associated with the toys; no interest, no personal investment, no long term bond and no memories.
This leads us to lesson TWO. People pay for added value and are happy to do it. I know Gail paid almost ten dollars a piece for these dinosaur eggs. This was essentially a two cent plastic dinosaur, wrapped in five cents of plaster in a ten cent box.
THREE. The marketers of this wonderful toy knew that it isn’t about the dinosaur. It is about the whole experience. In fact, I know that as anxious as the boys were to finish the task and see the results, they were disappointed when the experience came to an end.
FOUR. This is one you know that I live by and is how I opened this column: Lessons come from many places and at any time.
Have a great day.
(This article, Lesson from Children, was originally written and published by me 15 years ago.)