How to Start a Wish Journal with Your Kids
All of us have hopes and dreams, but have you ever thought about why it’s important to have these hopes and dreams? The answer is simple: hopes, dreams, and the wish to fulfill those hopes and dreams give us goals to strive towards; they give us the chance to make something of ourselves; they motivate us to do better and to be better; they help us to find ourselves and our identity while figuring out what we want from life and help us to become strong and resilient during the process of self-discovery.
You might not have thought about it, but it’s crucial for your little ones to realize the importance of chasing their dreams and fulfilling their wishes. All parents want their children to be motivated individuals, and one way to ensure that they have the level of motivation to succeed, is to help them figure out what their goals are early on in life and motivate them to achieve their dreams and wishes by keeping what we can call a wish journal.
What a Wish Journal Is
A wish journal is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a journal used for the purposes of writing down your wishes, hopes, and dreams. Keeping a wish journal is simply a great way to figure out what it is you want in life, why you feel you want what you want, how to achieve what you want, and to see how your goals and hopes for the world and yourself change over time. Think of a wish journal as an almost interactive wish list—a wish list that’s made up of more than what you want for the holidays or your birthday.
Why Your Kid Should Start a Wish Journal
All kids should have hopes and dreams. When kids have a hope or a dream or a wish (that’s greater than basic material wishes), it means that they’re hoping and dreaming to fulfill some part of themselves; they’re hoping to find themselves, and to contemplate and subsequently realize what exactly it is that makes them who they are. While kids don’t really need to be pushed to find themselves, there’s nothing wrong with parents coming in and giving a little guidance to a child’s journey to self-realization and self-actualization.
When you help your kid to start her very own wish journal, you’re helping her to reach her inner self and giving her a space where she can explore and navigate the core of her being as it temporarily is, and what it could possibly look like in the future. Encouraging your kid to start a wish journal is like encouraging her to create a totally unique and ever-evolving map of herself. By helping your kid draw up this map of herself, you’re getting the chance to guide her, and learn about your child by learning about what she hopes for both her own life and the world at large.
Of course, there’s no reason to force your kid to start a wish journal, but suggesting the idea is pretty simple and chances are, your kid will be pretty receptive to the idea. You’ll probably have less success with getting that journal started if you flat out ask her if she wants to begin her journaling journey. You might want to simply ask her about her hopes and dreams, and then you can suggest that your kid keep a wish journal in order to help her see and understand her hopes clearly and how she could possibly achieve her dreams.
You can say to your kid, “Hey, what is it that you want most for yourself and for the world?” Maybe she’ll then then gives you specific answers such as she wishes to be an astronaut, or wishes she could see a certain place, or wishes for world peace; maybe she’ll give you such answers but she’ll do so in a manner that’s slightly confused—meaning she doesn’t quite know how to articulate all of her greater life desires. If she does give you specific answers—even if the way they’re articulated isn’t totally clear—you can say to your child, “You know, there’s a way we can help you realize your wishes and get a clearer picture of what those wishes are. You could start a wish journal; that way you’ll always have a way to know what you want and how it is you can achieve what you want.”
What a Wish Journal can Reveal about Your Child
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question a lot of kids get asked. The answer to the question is typically one that will reveal much about the deep complexities of the personality of any particular child. When you ask your kid “what do you want to be when you grow up?” it’s almost as if your asking her what kind of person she is or wants to be, while at the same time allowing her to figure out what it is that her desires and subsequent choices say about who she is and about what kind of impact on society she could have. When your child tells you what she wishes to be when she grows up, she’s revealing to both you and herself what it is that makes her unique and how she could potentially interact with the world.
Let’s say your kid tells you she wants to be an astronaut. Now that you have your answer, think about what that answer really says about your kid: it means your kid is interested in outer space, that she has an explorative side, that she’s probably interested in science, she’s most likely brave, etc.
If you go ahead and have her write in her journal that she wishes to be an astronaut, first have her list all the qualities of an astronaut so at the very least she knows what kind of persons she is at that moment and where her interests lie. When she makes a list of the various qualities that drive her wish to be an astronaut, she’ll then have a clear picture of what it is that she likes, and she will then in turn have to figure out how to take the necessary steps to further cultivate an expertise in her interests and fulfill her dream of becoming an astronaut.
In this instance, she’ll know she’d probably enjoy space camp, that she’ll have to study science when she gets to college, and she’ll understand that there will be lots of rigorous training down the line. Not only will your child know what she has to do to fulfill her wish and accomplish her goal, but she’ll also gain a deeper understanding of the traits she currently possesses—traits that say a lot about her personality regardless of the end goal. She’s going to understand that she’s curious, brave, smart, and so on. When she sees the steps she needs to take in order to achieve her dreams—and sees what it says about her that she’s willing to take those steps—she’ll realize that she possesses all the qualities it takes fulfill her wish. When your kid keeps a wish journal, she is going to grasp a positive sense of herself—a sense of self that will make clear to her that she indeed has all the drive and determination within herself that it takes to achieve her dream. Your child will gain a sense of her capabilities, and she’ll feel empowered once she sees the vast array of positive qualities that lie within her.
If you ask your kid what she wishes for the world and her answer is something like world peace, then you’ve got a great way to reveal to your child a sense of her personality, and you can eventually encourage her to take a path that will allow her to best make use of what it is that makes her who she is and what she hopes to achieve in life.
Someone who wants world peace is someone who is kind, passionate, caring, sensitive, empathetic—the list goes on. You can say to your child, “did you ever think that since you want world peace, that that implies you are an empathetic and passionate human being?” When you and your kid write ‘world peace’ in the journal as one of her wishes, make a list of what her wish says about her as a person. She’ll see that she possesses so many wonderful qualities, and that’s going to make her feel good about herself. Once your kid has an understanding that she has all it takes to get out there and help tackle world peace and other related worldly and socially concerns and issues, she’s going to feel like she can really make a difference because she knows she has all it takes to make such a difference; she’ll be more motivated to give it all she’s got.
Then, once she understands she’s got the kindness and guts to lend a helping hand, you can tell her how she can fulfill her wish for world peace. You can recommend she join the Peace Corps, maybe you can encourage her to be an educator on the matter of world peace, and let her know that through teaching others she’s going to influence the way that others think about such matters as world peace. You can recommend she might want to volunteer in her community. Just say to her, “I know the task of fulfilling your wish for world peace seems like a tough one, but there’s so much you can do to go and make a difference.” If this is the case for you and your kid, all it takes to motivate her to make an impact is to simply write down what it is she wants, and then she’ll figure out the steps she needs to take to make her dream a reality.
Of course, if your kid is only in elementary school age, it’s going to take some time before she can actualize her dream (whether it be educating others about world peace, or one day becoming an astronaut), but that should in no way discourage her in the least. Knowing that she has a wish that she wants to fulfill will only further encourage her to develop herself. She has a goal, and she’ll do everything she can to achieve that goal.
See How Your Kid Evolves
Even if your child has a pretty firm idea of what her wishes are—and learns all it takes to make those wishes come true—chances are, she’s going to change her mind about her wishes at some point in time. Everybody’s wishes and desires change throughout their lives, and your kid will be no different. One day she wants to be an astronaut or archeologist, another day a rock star, the next day a teacher, or another day a successful athlete. Regardless of what it is she wishes to be or wishes for, keeping the journal is still going to be a great way to reveal to your kid that she can do anything she sets her mind to, but it will also give both you and your child a clearer picture of how it is that her interests change and what that says about your kid.
Maybe when your kid is beginning to reach adolescence or adulthood, she’ll look back at her wish journal and see just how multifaceted she is as a human being; she’ll see that she has so much she can offer the world given her wide array of wishes and desires. By keeping a wish journal, your child will understand how unique and special she is once she realizes all the interests she’s had throughout her life. Your kid will see in a clear way, all that it is that makes her who she is, and that all this time she’s been in possession of all she needs to achieve anything she wants. Your kid will understand that her interests have evolved and changed, but that her determination and passion to achieve is still at the very heart of who she is. Keeping a wish journal will help maintain your kid’s sense of confidence and self-esteem; your child will know that no matter what she does in life, she has the capability to do it well and do it with passion.
While your child has wishes for her future in terms of how she can make a difference in the world, she most likely also has wishes for things such as new toys. If your kid wishes for a stuffed animal or bicycle and it’s not yet time for the holidays or her birthday, you and your child could make a list of the things she could do to earn that new toy. You could make a list of chores she has to complete, or maybe you’ll want to make a list of requirements she needs to meet in school (grades, being well-behaved, etc.). Even in the instance that her wish is for basic, everyday kid stuff, you can still map out a plan to help her achieve that wish. It doesn’t matter what the wish is; you’re going to show your child the value of determination and hard work when you help her outline what it is she needs to do in order to get what she wants.
Keeping a wish journal is more than just a way for your kid to figure out what she wants; it’s a way to show how her how to get what she wants, and the type of person she is by exploring what it is she wants. Having a wish journal makes for an incredible learning experience all around. Your child’s wish journal will help her shed light on who she is and let her see that it takes hard work to achieve all her hopes and dreams.