A Wish is Halfway to Wherever You Want to Go

Maurice Sendak’s illustrated story “Kenny’s Window” is a beautifully poetic tale about a young boy deciding what he really wants in life and putting his confidence in working toward those wishes and hopes. 

In the story, Kenny meets a rooster who asks Kenny what he wishes for.

“I wish,” Kenny said slowly, “—I wish I had a horse, and a ship with an extra room for a friend.”

“You can have them,” said the rooster. 

“When?” cried Kenny. “Where are they?” 

“There,” said the rooster, pointing out the window. 

Kenny pressed his nose against the glass.

“Across the street?” he asked.

“Further than that,” said the rooster. 

So Kenny stood up on tip-toe.

“I can’t see any further than that,” he shouted.

The rooster hopped on Kenny’s shoulder. 

“I see them,” the rooster whispered, “past the houses, over the bridge, over a mountain on the edge of the ocean.”

“That’s too far,” said Kenny as he looked away.

“But you’re halfway there,” the rooster replied.

Kenny’s eyes grew big and he asked, “how did I get so far?”

“You made a wish,” said the rooster, “and a wish is halfway to wherever you want to go.”

Wishes are powerful drivers of change. We move through language toward action, using words of wanting and wishing to light the path ahead: I want, I wish, I’d like, I hope. Voicing our own wishes – especially aloud in the presence of someone supportive – serves to orient us toward what we desire and strengthen our motivation.  

Kenny’s wish is the kind of statement we make as we prepare for change, tipping the balance in the direction we would most like to go. Like Kenny’s, wishes usually don’t simply fall into our laps. Rather, they fall nearby, within sight, halfway there. We can then do the work of standing on tip-toe to see that wish and putting in the time and effort to take the steps to get the rest of the way there. 

Wherever it is we want to go.

Author: Alyssa Forcehimes, PhD

An expert in behavior change, substance use disorders and empathic communication, Dr. Alyssa Forcehimes serves as President of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.