My five-year-old daughter and I had a chat about wishes over the weekend. It all started when we went through a tunnel on the Merritt Parkway, en route to Hoboken. We have this odd little tradition in our family where, when we go through a tunnel, I honk the car horn, and we all make a wish.
After we made our wishes, little K said to me, “Do you want to know my wish?”
Instinctively, it seems, I replied with the old saying, “Oh no, if you tell your wish, it won’t come true!”
However, immediately after saying that, I regretted it for two reasons.
- I was missing out on hearing my daughter’s wish.
- Whoever decided that telling a wish WON’T make it come true, anyway?
It seems to me that accepting this last bit of information as fact, and passing it along to our children via this old saying, is doing more harm than good. Why in heaven’s name wouldn’t I want to know what my daughter’s wish is, anyway? First, it’s fun to hear what she’s thinking about and what she is hoping for, and second, knowing these kinds of details will help me to understand her better, so that I can help her grow up. Isn’t that my job as her mother?
I tried to back up and say, “You know, that’s a silly thing. Why would telling your wish make it not come true? I would think if you told someone, then it would be MORE likely for it to come true, because then they could wish with you!”
Unfortunately, my daughter wasn’t buying it. “No, Mommy,” she said, “I’m not going to tell.” And you know, she never did. I have no idea what she was thinking in that tunnel, while I beeped the car. I have some guesses–she wants a dog, she would like another cat, she wanted to be in Hoboken already because she was eager to see Auntie Sue…or maybe she just wanted a donut.
Unfortunately, I’ll never know. I’ve missed out because I unthinkingly bought into that old saying, the origins of which are unknown. Maybe someone truly didn’t want to hear a child’s wishes. Or maybe someone was tired of hearing their little child wish for things they couldn’t provide, and made this up to stop themselves from hearing those things that would break their heart.
After everything I’ve ever learned of intention and mindfulness, I’ve decided that this saying–like the old saying, “Never let a black cat cross your path”–is just outdated and pointless. And, in my case at least, it did more harm than good.
It’s time to change the paradigm. It’s time to understand that wishing out loud is not only good, but that it could even help make our dreams come true.
- Wishing creates intention – When you wish for something, you’re launching that positive thought off into the Universe. Many people believe that intention is what it takes to get the ball rolling. Look up “Intention” on Amazon and you’ll find countless books about how intention can help manifest our dreams. Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Mary Anne Radmacher, and Rhonda Byrne are all authors who have explored the connection between intention and manifestation.
- Wishing helps others know what your goals are – If others know your wish, and they are in a position to help further it, more often than not, they will. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made a comment and someone, hearing it, offers information or advice to help me along. We’re all like that–I believe people truly do want to help, if they can. Otherwise how could our charities possibly survive? How would teachers keep going in the face of low pay and unending politics? And how many times have we heard about someone’s selfless sacrifice for another?
- Wishing helps us focus on what we want – the more often we state our wishes, the more focused we are on making them happen. That means that when opportunities present themselves, we are more likely to recognize them. The more we work toward our wishes, the more they become true goals. And really, what is a goal, but a wish with a timeline?
- Wishing is akin to praying – religions all over the world believe in the power of prayer. To whom one prays is a very personal decision, but prayer is a standard, accepted practice all over the globe. While studies are still ongoing, it’s not likely that praying can hurt.
- Wishing is fun – this is the stuff dreams are made of. It’s always fun to think about what you would wish for, if you could be granted a wish…or three. After all, there are movies and books galore about what happens when you wish.
We all have wishes. I, too, have things I wish for. Some of them I can work toward; some, I can’t. After all, who hasn’t wished to win the Powerball or MegaMillions jackpots? Or both?
Some wishes, however, are more doable. When we were living in California, I wished we would come home to Maine and move back into our house. That wish? Accomplished.
Last year, I wish wishing for more of a chance to travel, and to spend some more time in Hoboken and New York City. So far, since the fall, I’ve been six times–the last three in rapid succession.
Also last year, I was wishing I could teach my two favorite subjects–Social Studies and Science–and that I could work again with my dear friend, Sharon, who taught at the 6th grade school. However, I desperately wanted to go back to my old 7th/8th middle school, and work with my favorite staff.
They say be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it. Indeed, they’re right: a couple of weeks ago, not only was I hired to teach Social Studies and Science, but it turns out that the 6th grade is moving over to my old middle school, and the 6th grade teachers will join my favorite staff.
And last Friday, the last piece fell into place: my former Principal confirmed that yes, indeed, I will be on a team with my dear friend, Sharon.
There is no way that these wishes should have come true. But they did.
So don’t be afraid! Share your secret wishes. Be unafraid, and if someone laughs, call them on it. Who is anyone else to discount the dreams of your heart?
I’ll start it off. These are my current wishes:
- I wish I could go back to Hawaii this summer for a visit. It’s been 30 years this year since I spent my last long summer living with my brother in Hawaii, and I’ve only been back one time since. I miss it, and want to spend some more time exploring it as an adult, taking lots of pictures, and writing about it while I’m there.
- I wish I could attend a summer workshop to start gearing up for renewing my credential, and also to learn something new, because I love to learn. However, money is still tight, so I need to find one that provides the coursework, room, and board. Also, a stipend for attending would be nice!
- I wish I could spend just one day shooting candids on a TV or movie set. I wouldn’t even have to get paid, although that would be nice. I love shooting photographs of people, and I love their positive feedback even more. It’s fun to surprise people with my photographs, and to make them happy. I like to capture the essence of the person on film (or, rather, digital).
And my real crazy, “let’s go for it” wish (other than winning the Powerball) is this:
- I wish I could fly on the inaugural flight of Hawaiian Airlines from NYC to Honolulu this June, and to share the experience via this blog, Facebook, and Twitter, both as a misplaced kama’aina and as an East Coaster exploring a new travel opportunity. I’ve always loved both travel and sharing my experiences through photographs and writing. It’s why I first went into journalism, and why I love this blog and Twitter as much as I do. What better way to combine those loves, and get home for a visit as well?
Wouldn’t that be awesome? What a great experience that would be!
Now you know my (formerly secret) wishes. What are yours?
Your Monday (Tuesday) Challenge is this:
Share your wishes with at least one other person. It can be a friend, a family member, a kid, or even the whole world via social media. If you like, you can even share them here, via the comments box below.
Sharing wishes can be scary–we might think others will laugh at us, or belittle our dreams. And it can be devastating when someone dismisses our wishes–it can even put us off of doing what we really want to do with our lives.
Until we honor our wishes, and give them oxygen and room to grow, we will never know what possibilities we may encounter–or which opportunities we could benefit from.