One of my favorite children’s stories is “Cookies” found in Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel.
The plot follows the two amphibians as they work out how to resist eating a whole batch of cookies baked by Frog. After eating “one last cookie” several times, Frog determines that they need “will power” to stop eating all of the cookies. In reply to Toad’s question about the meaning of will power, Toad says “Will power is trying hard not to do something that you really want to do.” They consider various ways to stop eating the cookies such as putting the cookies in a box tied up with string or putting them on a high shelf. But they are smart enough to figure out that scissors and a ladder can easily overcome those obstacles.
Finally Frog takes the cookies outside and yells for the birds to take them away. When Toad bemoans the fact that they no longer have any cookies, Frog replies “Yes, but we have lots and lots of will power.”
I’m not sure that it is really willpower when you take away temptation, but removing tempting treats from my house is the best way for me to resist eating them. I have very little problem resisting “bad” food throughout the day, but the post-dinner hours are another story. It’s a boredom issue, I think. It’s also an issue that chocolate tastes really good and sometimes I crave it so much that it hurts. I’ve never been able to figure out why I am so satisfied with one piece of chocolate when it is a sample given out at Costco and then I can’t stop at one (
five) at home.
I love cookies. I love candy. I love ice cream. I hate willpower.
Lest you think that Frog and Toad have it all figured out, the story ends with Toad’s scathing dismissal of willpower: “You may keep it all, Frog. I am going home now to bake a cake.”
I know what you mean, Toad.