Sometimes What We Wish For Isn’t Always Best

Source: freepik
Source: freepik

“I wanted long and curly hair, but when my wish came true,

my head was bald with just one strand, now what was I to do?”

“I wished that I could catch a ball, with either hand I used,

Yet when my hands became two mitts, I really felt confused.”

 excerpt from Reading Is Fun! Imagine That!

Many of us have found that at times the things we wish for aren’t exactly the best for us, wise, or realistic. As adults we know this. We’ve learned it throughout our lives. Maybe the person we hoped to marry never said the words we hoped to hear and later we met the love of our life and realized that if our first wish had come true, we would not have had this fulfilling and meaningful marriage.

Or, maybe we wished for a job promotion that we never got and instead we switched jobs that led us to traveling all over the world! Or perhaps the house we chose fell out of escrow and we ended up with our dream home that came on the market the following week. We just never know.

It’s true and adults realize this concept. Day to day living lets us experience this. Sometimes things work out the way we want and other times they don’t, but in most cases, things work out realistically and we adapt to what makes sense.

A story-poem in Reading Is Fun! Imagine That! called “My Wishes” simplifies this concept for kids, as you can see from the first two quotes I’ve noted above. Here’s another one:

“And when I wished that I could fly, I really meant, “a plane,”

so when I grew two graceful wings, I asked, “Will these remain?”

Of course the child didn’t want bird wings. And in the passage at the top, rather than being grateful that he could catch baseballs with one hand, the child wished for two good hands for catching and ended up with two mitts for hands!

A child’s natural way of thinking is, “I want,” “I wish I had,” or “I really need…” and those very real hopes are genuine but too often not possible nor realistic for reasons that may need to be explained.

And during Christmas time, with Santa at every mall and wish lists being made by children all over the country, there is a lot of wishful thinking that may just result in something similar to the poem in my book. Disappointment. Frustration. Displeasure, or wondering, “Maybe Santa didn’t receive my letter.”

Christmas time is supposed to be full of happiness and love! I’ve seen a child’s Christmas list that was two pages long, with stars next to the most important toys. One suggestion to the parents of those children would be to give them a hug, tell them they did a great job thinking of so many things they’d enjoy having, tell them that you are proud of them, and then perhaps ask how many toys could not be carried in Santa’s sleigh because one child wanted or needed so many (and there is only time for one trip around the world!).

Perhaps it’s wise to ask for the most important one, if he still has one available. For millions of gifts to fit into one large sleigh, some of them need to be quite small. Your child may need to realize that Santa might already have wrapped the gift he thought would be enjoyed and even packed it in his sleigh. And just remember that he’s very good at selecting happy surprises when “Wish Lists” don’t reach him in time.

Santa and his reindeer and the North Pole are magical stories to preserve the spirit of Christmas and keep its actions of giving and love alive. They exist to create a fantasy world for children while they’re little. If all wishes were granted, the world might become full of spoiled people and there would be fewer kind, considerate, thoughtful ones to enjoy.

This story-poem simplifies the concept that wishes need to be well thought out, explained clearly, and be appropriate and realistic. I hope you’ll read this poem with your children this holiday season as a reminder of two things: (1) We can’t always get what we wish or ask for; (2) Santa’s wish is that your Christmas will be happy in ways that are far more lasting than gifts and that can’t possibly be gift-wrapped.

Then, your children can read the last passage of the poem and realize that the most important things they need and can make real are their values that show their pride and self-respect. These can be the greatest gifts and each person makes these for themselves, so that when they look in the mirror they realize,

“I’m happy now, I’m quite myself, I’m pleased with what I see.

I look at my reflection, and Imagine That! I’m ME!”

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All!

Ruth A. Radmore

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