DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who totally believes that if you make a wish on New Year’s Day, your whole life can change. I do not believe in fairy tales. I believe in honest hard work and commitment. Meanwhile, my friend goes on and on about how she made this wish and all the great things that are about to happen for her as a result. She claims that she did the same thing last year, and she ended up getting a great new job. This year, she has a new wish, and she can’t wait to see it come true. Am I wrong to believe in working for what you want? -- No Fairy Tales, Atlanta
DEAR NO FAIRY TALES: Your friend’s approach is hopeful. She has set an intention and is focused on making that happen. While her way of describing her goal sounds magical, I bet what she is doing is being clear about what she wants, having faith that it will happen and working toward that goal.
A spiritual lesson I have been taught is that success is like a two-winged bird. It requires self-effort and grace. Your friend is calling it a “wish.” It also sounds like a prayer.
Of course hard work is required to achieve a goal. Claiming what you want and need and staying focused on attaining it while asking for the grace to get there is a recipe I follow to attain my desires.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I was cleaning my son’s room, and I found a stash of weed under his mattress. I am so mad. I have talked to him about drugs many times. I am no prude, but I know that my 16-year-old son has no business smoking marijuana. He has not been doing well in school, and he spends way too much time hanging out with his friends who don’t seem to have any goals. I believe that some people can smoke weed and manage their lives; my son cannot. How can I get him to know this is a bad idea? -- On the Brink, Washington, D.C.
DEAR ON THE BRINK: Talk to your son about his goals and dreams. Ask him what he wants to do with his life. Encourage him to talk about what his life might look like when he graduates from high school. Does he want to go to college? What type of work does he want to do? Do your best to get him to talk about his vision. This positive approach may help to open the conversation about the obstacles in his way.
Once he has opened up about his future, ask him what may be impeding his realizing those dreams. If he doesn’t bring it up, point out that smoking weed can be distracting. Tell him you think that he smokes too much and that it is affecting his school work. Suggest that he reconsider how he spends his free time. Smoking weed is known to slow people down. Ask him what is more important: his habit or his future. Keep reminding him of his dreams. Work to guide him in that direction.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)