by H. Bryant
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To consider what our wishes might mean and if they ever come true.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a small birthday cake, candles and matches.
- You could play the part of the Disney film Aladdin where the genie talks about granting three wishes, which is just after the song ‘Never had a friend like me’, in the ‘Assembly’, Step 5, but this is optional.
- I wonder if anyone has a birthday today . . .
Chances are there will be at least one person, maybe a member of staff.
Great, come on up.
Ask everyone to sing ‘Happy birthday’. Then, light the candles on the cake and ask the person to blow them out and make a wish.
- Now, tell us what you wished for.
Hopefully he or she won’t, knowing the adage that then it won’t come true.
You won’t tell us? OK, that’s fine, but I wonder if you hope that your wish will come true for you?
Again, hopefully you will be given a ‘Yes’ answer.
- What do you think the chances are of your wish coming true on a scale of one to ten, with one being unlikely and ten being the most likely?
Wait for a response.
Well, I do hope your wish comes true and you have a very lovely birthday. Thanks very much.
Send him or her back to sit down.
- Wouldn’t it be great if all our wishes were granted? Life would be so wonderful and exciting. There would never be a dull moment.
I wonder, though, would you ever stop wishing or would there always be something else you would find to wish for?
- If you think about Disney’s film Aladdin, which is based on one of the tales in The Arabian Nights, the genie is limited to being able to grant only three wishes. Further, this wishing is in itself limited.
Play the clip from Aladdin, if using.
The genie cannot kill anybody. He also cannot make anyone fall in love with anyone else. Love has to be freely given, it cannot be forced. He cannot bring anyone back from the dead – that, I am sure, would be a wish everyone would want to make. Finally, he cannot grant the wish for more wishes. This shows that there are limits even to wishes. This is probably because, if everything you ever wanted always came true, how would you know when to stop wishing?
- A psychologist named Sigmund Freud believed that religion was based on something called ‘wish fulfilment’, which was created by the human psyche in order to fulfil our wants and desires. He said that a belief in the afterlife and a heaven where we meet our friends and family again after death was simply humanity ‘wishing’ there was something else other than just this life, that death is not the end.
I wonder if what we wish for is often a product of our thoughts and fantasies and whether or not our wishes are achievable goals or even achievable outcomes or desires?
- The response my mother used to give me when I said, ‘I wish’ was, ‘If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.’ What this means is that we can wish, but we won’t always get what we wish for. If we could be given all our wishes, then life would be easy and simple and we would never have to fight for anything, risk anything or even work hard for anything.
- I also wonder, if our wishes were granted, would they ever turn out to be what we really hoped or believed they would be?
In real life, certainly, what we wish for does not always turn out to be exactly what we’d hoped for. If we return to Disney’s Aladdin, the genie wished most of all to be free. That is because he was a slave to whomever rubbed the lamp, so he was trapped until someone freed him. Of course, they never did.
People are selfish and so they kept their three wishes for themselves.
- So, our wishes may not always be for the good of others. As a general rule, we tend to make wishes for ourselves. What we wish for is the outcome that we would most like to happen or what gives us the most satisfaction. So, maybe the next time you make a wish when you blow out your birthday candles, you might choose to make a wish for someone else.
Time for reflection
Spend a few moments thinking about what you would wish for for others if it were your birthday today.
Now, how could you make that wish come true?