Delay Gratification and Encourage Writing with a “Wish List Folder”

by redpillpapa · 4 comments

in Character,Education,Toys+Products

Red Pill Parents, I wanted to share with you a concept that I came up with (though I have learned from Red Pill Mama that she has a variation of my system in her home, so strength in numbers seems to indicate this is an idea that works).

I am talking about “The Wish List Folder.”

This idea came about during the winter holidays when my daughter was going gift crazy, overwhelmed with the selfish satisfaction that only a four- or five-year-old can exhibit (parents with older children feel free to chime in here!). Instead of being thrilled with the gifts that she was receiving for Chanukah, she was more focused on all of the other playthings that might be showered upon her. The simple explanation that there would be eight days and eight presents did not stave off the endless requests for a Hello Kitty notebook with a lock and key, sparkly rainbow stickers, a cupcake factory and other assorted whims and wishes.

You can imagine that as a father working hard to teach his daughter about the meaning behind gifts, the value of experiences over gifts (read Red Pill Mama’s post entitled “Specifying Gifts: Party Invite Faux Pas, or Conscious Parent Protocol?”) and being grateful for that which one has and receives, I was feeling frustrated at my lack of success, as these concepts seemed to ricochet off of her self-centered, sweet little head and the requests for more toys steadily continued in exuberant tones.

Then it struck me. I could probably channel this energy and excitement into a carefully masked educational exercise, which would transfer this excitement into joyful feelings about writing. Everything that my daughter asked for would be written down, in her handwriting and with my spelling guidance, and stored in a ‘Wish Folder.’ At a later and appropriate time, her wishes (within reason – no lambs will be co-habiting with us!) would come true!

My daughter, who has always showed great pride in writing words, letters and numbers (whether they had meaning or not), would proudly fill up sheet after sheet of paper with her prolific prose. So this exercise gave more meaning and magic to the words that she wrote. Of course, I was happy to patiently spell out the words “I wish for a Hello Kitty notebook with a lock and key.” “I wish for a Mickey Mouse birthday party with Mickey Mouse balloons.” “I wish for sparkly My Little Pony and rainbow stickers,” and tuck them away for the next time her mother and I would be rain wo/men. And you know what? It worked. My girl’s impulses were channeled onto pieces of paper, and her nagging pleas were magically bottled up in a folder on my desk!

Luckily, as the holiday season came to a close, so did the persistent wish requests. Her birthday rolls around in August, so I am confident the Wish Folder will spring into action sometime in July, and she will have the added wonderment of experiencing her wishes come true.

Now, as I mentioned at the beginning, Red Pill Mama has a ‘wish clip’ that is affixed to her refrigerator, and her children are able to write wishes on pieces of paper and securely send them into the magical wish-o-sphere.  When we discovered this common bond between us, we also talked about wishes not being solely for material items, which I wholeheartedly support. Ideally, the wish folder will contain a larger number of ‘hope and dream’ wishes that come from experiences as opposed to coming from a retailer. But regardless, as a Red Pill Parent, I feel success in having channeled less meaningful impulses for things into valuable writing lessons that are creating good, self-satisfying feelings about the art and emotions of writing.

~ Red Pill Papa

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Red Pill Mama March 3, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Auntie Lynn tells me that she purchased my daughter’s wish clip from Appalachian Spring (, which has five stores in the DC/VA area. I contacted them and while it’s not currently available on their web site, my interest has galvanized them to get it back up — she’ll send me a link when it’s back up and I’ll post it here as a comment. Meanwhile, you can certainly contact them directly.

Though only the wish fairies are technically supposed to know what she’s written on the little pieces of paper in her wish clip, I did exert my executive/parental privilege and take a peek: and I will tell you that not everything she’s wished for has been a “thing” — and some of the non-thing things she’s wished for have nearly made me cry. You will thoroughly enjoy this experience if you institute it in your own home!

Anastasia March 3, 2010 at 10:46 pm

We get our toys from catalogs mostly, so Alex gets to circle the things he wishes for. He doesn’t know when (or if) he’ll get them, but it’s always fun to see his reaction when he gets something he asked for!

Shannon March 8, 2010 at 3:40 pm

I do the same thing with my son and he has a great time. Unfortunately, he did not get the baby brother from Santa that he requested but rather a baby sister the following year. He did not seem to be too disappointed. He also likes to make up fairy tales or songs that I write down for him. They are so cute. They are usually about about his toys but at least they get his creative juices flowing.

Red Pill Mama March 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm

I just heard from Appalachian Spring — here’s a direct link to their wish clips:

These would make great gifts for grownups too – my daughter received the Fairy one, but they have so many beautiful designs!

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