When you were a kid, and blew out the candles on your birthday cake, were you told to make a wish? I think all of us were and there began the concept of wishful thinking.
As a child, to wish for whatever you want, merely by believing it could come true, was entertaining and satisfying. Only to then feel a harsh let down when the wish was denied. It would be a hard lesson for learning the true meaning of making a wish.
When I was a kid in the 1960s, even the Sears Christmas catalog was called the “Wish Book”. We had television shows like “I Dream of Jeanie”, and “Bewitched” telling us that magic could make wishes come true. And then there was Santa Claus, with every child back then believing in Santa! He was the most magical of all because he could make any wish come true. It all seemed quite innocent and fun at the time.
The Google dictionary explains the meaning of the word “wish,” this way: “to feel or express a strong desire or hope for something that is not easily attainable; to want something that cannot or probably will not happen.”
It was a rather harsh reality to realize that wishing was just role playing a fantasy. To truly make a wish reality, you had to put some hard work into it. It was not free. You had to make that wish come true yourself. We could wish all day long but would see nothing happen unless we got up and did it ourselves.
I guess all loving parents want their children to believe the world is full of wonder, and at their fingertips. They want their children to feel as though anything good in life is possible. I don’t believe parents mean to set their kids up for disappointment with wishing. I believe they are only trying to give their child a positive outlook. Or something to look forward to, as with Santa Claus.
As entertaining as it might be to wish I would win millions in the lottery, I would waste my time and energy doing so. I’m not so sure I want to encourage my grandchildren to wish for things. I believe I want them to dream, and to know that dreams come true for those that work toward making that dream come true.
Next time I catch myself beginning a sentence with “I wish”, I will stop myself in my tracks. Wishes cannot be granted, but dreams can be built.