FOR YEARS NOW, I HAVE BEEN HOSTING CHILDREN’S ART COMPETITIONS IN SLOVENIA, MY HOME COUNTRY, AROUND CHRISTMASTIME. AS AN EDUCATOR AND PARENT MYSELF, I KNOW HOW BENEFICIAL IT IS FOR CHILDREN TO ALL COME TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY AND WORK ON PROJECTS TOGETHER; AND SO, 1000 WISHES FROM THE HEART WAS BORN. THE GOAL FOR THESE ART COMPETITIONS IS FOR CHILDREN TO SEARCH DEEP INSIDE THEMSELVES AND EXPRESS THEIR TRUEST WISHES IN THE FORM OF AN ILLUSTRATED LETTER FOR SANTA — AND MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, THEY TURN OUT TO BE THOSE THAT CANNOT BE BOUGHT.
One of the things I have noticed throughout the years is just how incredible children’s nonmaterial wishes are. Children are much more aware of the problems around them than we might think, and they are eager to make a change, to stop these problems from happening.
This was revealed to me through these art competitions, and I can’t help but to share some of my experiences and some of the wishes I have gotten over the years with you because there is so much value in these, and they can give us all a different perspective on what we are really giving our children.
What Children Really Want for Christmas
I was recently going through a stack of wishes I had collected a few years back, and I came across a wish from 6-year-old Teah, which read: “I wish my parents would stop fighting when they’re together, and I wish my father would stop beating my mother”. This stopped me in my tracks and forced me to sit down and reflect on this wish.
Little Teah had entered the art competition and had made this wish, seeking a force outside herself to stop the violence in her home. Her parents were so caught up in their problems that they most likely forgot to consider what they were exposing their 6-year-old daughter to. But Teah was well aware of the things going on, and instead of asking for anything material for herself, her deepest wish was to stop her parents from fighting and to stop her father from abusing her mother.
What does Teah’s wish show us? That children want a home. That children want a loving family. That children want peace and harmony between their parents. That the problems we have with our partners, and how we deal with these problems, really do affect our children — whether there is physical violence or not. That children are cognizant of the things going on around them, no matter how young they are, and that they know when there is something wrong.
What can we do about this? Let us think of little Teah, and all the other children in the world like her, and let us be responsible adults and parents. Let’s create an environment for our children where they don’t feel afraid, sad, worried, repressed, judged, neglected, or like a burden. If we have problems with our partner, let’s get therapy or legal help. If we have problems with ourselves, let’s speak to professionals and get help. If we are overwhelmed, let’s reach out! Let’s do everything we can to keep the environment in our homes healthy and loving.
A Special Superpower
An anonymous submission I received more recently read: “I wish I had a superpower that kept me from being naughty so that my elders would no longer be angry with me”. This seems like a reasonable wish in ways, doesn’t it? Well, let’s take a deeper look into this child’s heart, and let’s see.
This child is probably your typical child, maybe a little more mischievous than some, and probably makes mistakes like everyone else. From the wish, we can see that his elders, most likely parents and other family members, let this child know that they are making these mistakes by responding with anger — so much so that this child has it at the forefront of their mind at the time of thinking of what wish to write for the competition.
What can we do about this as parents? Let’s think about how we respond to our children’s mistakes, and try to be conscious of when we’re responding with anger, and when we’re actually providing valuable, reasonable guidance. Yes, it’s often frustrating and it’s very easy to go the anger route. But when a child’s wish is to have a superpower that makes them well behaved in order to not make their elders angry at them all the time, there is definitely some personal searching to be done as parents as well.
Hugs and Togetherness
Another anonymous submission I received some years back read “I wish everyone at home would come together in a big hug”, and I personally really like what this one represents. It doesn’t necessarily say “my family doesn’t hug” or “my family doesn’t love one another”, but it does show us a glimpse inside what children want in their family home, and that is love.
Children love love. They love when we scoop them up into our arms and give them kisses. They love when the whole family piles into the living room to watch a movie. They love to see mom hugging dad before work. They love it when they see other family members showing each other how much they love each other. Children love love!
What can we learn from this wish? As parents, we set examples for our children. We are the pillars in the home, and since we are constantly under observation from our children, we can keep this wish in mind, and show our love for our family with every single chance we get. This doesn’t take more time out of our day, but it makes a huge impact on the harmony and love a child sees within the home.
Let’s give our children hugs and kisses every chance we get. Let’s show love to our partners when we get a chance. Let’s hug and squeeze and kiss and pat and soothe each other. Let’s tell our family that we love them. Let’s use our extra time to do things together. Let’s create a home where love is the most important thing!
These are just 3 of thousands of wishes I have received through my years of holding 1000 Wishes From the Heart, and they all serve as beautiful examples of how our children’s minds really work; and they give us a great perspective into what children truly wish for when all is said and done.
This Christmas 2020 don’t stress about what to get your child, as they will love their material presents with all their heart. But Let’s remember these wishes, and let’s focus on the ways we as parents can make our children’s true wishes come true every day. Let’s work on how we show them we love them, and let’s improve upon ourselves in any ways we can to be the best parents we can possibly be (remember, we are human too, and we can’t be perfect. But we can always show them we love them!).