Share this story

 | By Father Charles Irvin

To wish, to hope – what’s the difference?

What’s the difference between wishing for something and hoping for something? The distinction between the two is important for all of us, teens as well as adults.

 A wish is something we want, but is based only on our desire – something we think we want. Hope, however, is based on an expectation that is grounded in reality. Hope is more confident than mere wishful thinking.

Here’s an example. If you’re facing an exam in a particular course you’re taking in school and you haven’t studied the material, you can only wish for an “A” on the exam.

But if you have in fact seriously studied the material, you can hope for an “A.”

As for you who are parents, you may wish that your youngster does well in school or in life, but your hope for her is in vain if you have not trained her well in study habits or in developing life skills.

The same is true when it comes to our spiritual lives. We can wish that we shall get to heaven after we die, but our hope for heaven will be in vain unless we have spent some serious energy in developing our relationship with God. If we live our lives doing nothing but selfish things, we will be taking God’s name (his presence, power and love) in vain if we think he’s going to save us in spite of ourselves.

What happens when hope is denied?

If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.

If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.

If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence.

If a child lives with praise, she learns to appreciate.

If a child lives with fairness, she learns justice.

If a child lives with security, she learns to have faith.

If a child lives with approval, she learns to like herself.

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, she learns to find love in the world.

– Author Unknown

Are we living in wishful thinking, or are we living in hope? It’s a distinction with a difference.