Asking is better than wishing

I work part-time at a library. Almost every day this happens:

A child about 7 or 8 years old enters with a parent.

"Mommy (or Daddy), do they have books about____________ (dinosaurs... Lego... unicorns...)?"

"You'll have to ask," the parent says.

The child slinks behind the parent's leg, unwilling to face the scary prospect of talking to an adult. "You ask."

Last week a similar scenario unfolded beside me. A young boy asked his father about a book and his father told him to ask me.

After some time the boy worked up his nerve. “Do you have The Mysterious Benedict Society?

“Yes!” I said. “Right over here.” We walked together to pick up the book.

“See?” his father said. “Asking is better than wishing.”

The rest of the afternoon I pondered,:

  • Have I been wishing for things without doing the asking?
  • Could I receive those things if I voiced the request?

If you could work up the nerve right now, what would you ask for?

A child's drawing of a house full of cats. The heading reads: If I had one wish, I would wish for 18 kittens."
My daughter once wished for 18 kittens. She never ASKED for them though . . .

10 thoughts on “Asking is better than wishing

  1. Ally Bean

    I remember being too afraid to ask for a book at the library. Such a flashback. As for what you’re pondering, I wish I know the answer for sure. Just because you ask doesn’t mean you’ll receive, BUT maybe by putting the request out there you convince yourself to go after what you want. Or maybe you tell the Universe to get with it and give you what you want stat.

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      It is true that many times the book the child asks for isn’t there, or at least not right away. Sometimes waiting is part of the process. Either way, the asking is the part that makes a silent wish a real thing. At the very least it’s a first step!

  2. karen

    Oh nice question Arlene! Many things come to mind…I will settle on “I am asking Lecce for a FAIR deal for Ontario CUPE education workers, and increased staffing so that vulnerable students receive the supports they need to succeed.” (Actually, ‘demand’ might be more appropriate.)
    Btw, 18 kittens picture is beyond cute. What a keeper 💖

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Oh, that is a very good ask. I am with you 100 per cent. If Lecce had to do the job for even one day . . .
      My daughter did that picture back in the days before we got our dog. We had no pets, and she came home from school one day and said, “Today at school we talked about what pets we had, and I had to say we had NO PETS!” Big, sad eyes. She never did get 18 kittens, but we did get one dog.

  3. Endless Weekend

    I simply love the “Asking is better than wishing.” It’s better even than Irving’s “Great minds have purposes; others have wishes.” What an absolutely delightful story and how wonderful that it was taught at a library. I wonder if you’ll see the little boy again and maybe this time he won’t be as shy?

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Just about every day something fun and interesting happens at a library. So many great life lessons there. We do get to know a lot of our visitors, so he’ll probably be back. I really like your quote too – it puts the action in there. Very important.

      1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

        Good question. We do the best we can to let people know that libraries are about more than books these days. So many resources available. It’s an ongoing process of word-of-mouth marketing.

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