It is the 27th of December 2016, just 2 days after Christmas, and the final days of 2016… I am lying down on the couch in my living room, relaxing, and watching my 3 little children play and sing together—as they explored and talked about their Christmas gifts with much excitement and joy. I could overhear the 2 older ones giggle with excitement about their wishes for this Christmas coming true…I could also hear them talk about what they would love to have as their Christmas presents the following year.

As they discussed about their wishes for the following Christmas, they spoke with so much certainty and conviction, without any doubt whatsoever—as if it all depended on them, and must surely come to pass! For a moment, I smiled, saying to myself: “how I wish life was like this…having all your wishes and heart’s desires come true, simply by asking for them.”

However, before I could finish off my self-talk, I could hear my son saying to my daughter, “aaahhh…mummy wouldn’t let you have an iPhone…” “She says you are still very young to have one…and remember you got the blackberry last Christmas!” he added. Then my daughter is like “…but I can’t even call anyone with it…and it is old fashioned!” She goes on…and this time, even more confident and firm in her tone than before, “Anyway, I can buy it myself you know… I will publish more books, save some money, and get an iPhone for myself!”

Without saying a word, I kept listening and avoiding any eye contact or gesture that would distract and hence interrupt them. I can see my son is super excited and happy for his sister. In his state of enthusiasm, he suddenly goes, “aaahhh…I am also going to write and publish loads of books, so I could have much money, and buy whatever I desire, and also help some of the poor children who have very little or no money at all…yes!”

He screams with excitement, then runs towards me and gives me a big and affectionate hug. He looks at me in the eyes and goes, “Yes, Yes, Mummy! Latoya and I are going to write loads of books, and have so much money…so we would be able to buy whatever we want, and also help poor children who have no money!”

At this moment, my daughter also joins in and hugs me with so much excitement and determination in her voice—as she validates what her brother just told me a couple of minutes earlier. Then, she takes it a step further…and this really astonished me!

She calls her little brother, “Caleb, come on…come, and let’s go upstairs and get our computers and start writing straight away, we do not have much time before its Christmas again, you know.” At this point, I couldn’t stop smiling. They then gave me loads of hugs, and hurriedly disappeared into the corridor, and upstairs they went…with their baby sister running after them.

I was indeed very pleased and proud of them! I pondered and pondered…saying to myself, “If only I knew what they now know, when I was their age… I would certainly be a multimillionaire today.” I know you may be wondering, “But what do they know that you didn’t know?” “What was the difference between you and them, when you were younger?”

Now, before I can respond to the above questions, and tell you exactly what they know that I didn’t know then, and hence, the fundamental difference between my upbringing and theirs… I would first of all like to draw your attention to some key elements and differences that I noted as I watched them and listened to them speak.

First of all, I noticed the confidence and assurance they both exhibited as they talked about their wishes and desires for the following Christmas, was also very obvious…until the iPhone was mentioned.

Secondly, and most interestingly, I immediately became aware of a renewed enthusiasm, excitement, and greater confidence in my daughter, as she found a solution to the setback that would potentially hinder her from having her heart’s desire for an iPhone, fulfilled. I then asked myself, “But why this renewed enthusiasm and greater confidence?”

Suddenly, I began having some profound revelation, which then inspired me to begin the process of writing this piece… Here is the revelation, which is exactly what I never knew as a child—however, my children, aged 7 and 10 years respectively, seemed to have grasped and mastered it at such tender age. It became even more obvious to me that, my children were very aware of the fact that their dreams and goals had more power than their wishes…and that if they dedicated some time and put in the necessary effort, then the former will certainly come into realization.

A dream could be defined as a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal; while a goal is a desired result or possible outcome that a person or a system envisions plans and commits to achieve. On the other hand, a wish is simply a strong desire for something to happen, with no effort to make it happen or become a reality!  For this reason, it is often said: “If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride…”

In fact, there is a great difference between wishes, dreams, and goals… Wishes are the things you strongly desire or want—however, without having to commit to do something in order for it to happen. In order words, wishes are not dependent on your commitment or efforts, but rather on external factors and elements, which are always changing and quite uncertain. It is very evident that as a child, I was not aware of these fundamental differences between the three, and consequently, how they affected us and determined the probability and/or certainty with which we achieved our heart’s desires and were fulfilled.

While growing up, it was sufficient for my siblings and I to simply present our wish lists to our parents, and then wait for them to become reality on Christmas day or on some other special occasions, such as birthdays. From one Christmas and New Year to the other, all we ever did was write down our Christmas and New Year lists, which were often filled with our wishes and heart’s desires for the year; and expected to become a reality on Christmas day—in effect, brought to us by the famous “Father Christmas”.

Contrary to my daughter and son, we never thought then of ever taking it a step or two further… Hence, our wishes were never transformed into dreams, and eventually goals…and we totally depended and relied on our parents for these wishes to come true! Notwithstanding, we were always confident that they will certainly come true; though not exactly sure of what specific ones in our list would become reality, and which will remain forever wishes, and eventually fade away with time…

In fact, I now understand why their excitement was profound the moment they spoke about committing to write their own books and raise the money they needed for their Christmas gifts… At this point, they no longer had just wishes, which are less dependent on them and without any commitment on their part in making them come true. Conversely, their wishes were dependent on external forces/sources, which in this case, were us—their parents. Nonetheless, because they know and trust us, they were confident that almost all of their Christmas wishes would become reality, except for the iPhone…

Nevertheless, as soon as their wishes were transformed into dreams, and eventually backed by a definite goal and action plan, their excitement and confidence were doubled… if not, tripled. Why? They were more assured it would become a reality, as it did not depend on others or external factors, but greatly depended on them, their effort, and their ability and willingness to commit and make it happen—and they were indeed committed to making it happen

In fact, they did not only commit, but in such a short space of time, they had come up with the necessary strategy and plan required to make this achievable…and immediately set out to implement the first steps necessary to make their dream a definite goal and tangible reality! Signifying that, they were aware of the fact that success is deliberate and intentional; and the outcome was a deep sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.

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By Dr Sylvia Forchap-Likambi


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