Home » Editorial » Wishing is for Suckers

Wishing is for Suckers


I’ve often wondered about the value of teaching children the practice of making wishes. In essence, a child is begging the universe to fulfill one of his desires whether or not he’s actually been proactive in the pursuit of his goal. it also removes all accountability since by the nature of a wish, there are no strings attached to the wish maker. To me, that’s a recipe for a lifetime of disappointment. In most cases, wishing is for suckers.

In no way am I equating dreaming big to making wishes. Dreaming big can be a source of empowerment for kids. With guidance from family, friends, and teachers, a child has an opportunity to work towards seeing her dreams come to fruition. As parents, the challenge becomes framing the parameters based on experience as well as adapting to new circumstances. A child may or may not become a rock star, but the child’s love of music could open doors to a career in the music industry.

Perhaps the practice of making a wish can be used as a stepping stone to dreaming big. By asking one’s kid what he wishes, you can start him on the road to achieving goal oriented results. Meeting and overcoming obstacles will serve him well in whatever endeavor he chooses. Challenging one’s kid to find solutions opens up a new way of thinking. The old adage of “teaching a man to fish so he can feed himself for life” rings true.

So the next time your kid makes a wish ask him “What do you need to do to make that wish come true?”

Below is a video featuring Larry Smith, economics professor at the University of Waterloo. Watch this enlightening video about all the excuses for chickening out of a great career.

What do you think? Should we encourage kids to make wishes?

  • I like your thinking, Vincent. It sort of is an off-shoot of the nonsense of the self-esteem movement. Sure, we want our kids to think well of themselves, but NOT for just showing up. Wishing is kind of like that…you don’t have to work for it if you wish and it comes true. Wanting something is different – you can work towards a want (and a wish, for that matter)…

    • Anonymous

      Well said Bruce. Teaching the concept of working towards a goal rather leaving things to chance may well be one of the most important gifts a child will ever receive.   

  • Erin
    • Anonymous

      Thanks for the link Erin.  Wishing is different from Dreaming Big.  Having aspirations can lead to proactive actions to achieve one’s dreams.  

      From the article:

      “We believe in each and every child’s God given right to dream…to dream about what they want to be when they grow up AND the right for their school to help them accomplish that dream. “

  • Jesse

    It’s a sobering message for those of us who have crossed the threshold and those of us with the plans to do so. I already have to live with the ‘If only I had..’ – but the dim prospects that ‘Unless’ (reminds me of the Once-ler) offers me is brighter than the auditorium used in the video. Every once in a while – we need economists & philosophers to come along and kick us in the buttocks and ‘wake us’ up. : ) 

    • Anonymous

      Yes we do.