A Birthday Wish

Carol A. Hand

My dearest grandson, it seems only a short time ago when I first held you in my arms after your birth on a snowy, stormy January day sixteen years ago. Sixteen! How the years have flown by!

Thanksgiving 2014

Photo Credit: Aadi and Ahma – Thanksgiving 2014

I wanted to write a special poem, or share the old story that you asked me to recite thousands of times when you were little, The ‘Tinky Bush Story, but I won’t embarrass you by posting it today. I pondered what I could give you that would let you know how deeply I love you. Oddly, the words that came were something I needed to write in response to survey from our Congressional Representative, Rick Nolan. I know it’s a strange gift. But it’s what I can do today to give you the most important gift I can imagine – to take the time to advocate for a world where people live in peace and harmony with each other and take care of the earth we all share as home.


Dear Representative Nolan,

First, I wish to thank you for your continuing efforts to represent your constituents with integrity, wisdom, and compassion.

Second, I want to express my gratitude to you for asking constituents to share our views about the most pressing issues we face as Minnesotans, citizens of the United States, and members of the global community.

On this day, January 10, 2015, when my grandson is celebrating his sixteenth birthday, your request gives me an opportunity to share what I wish for his future, the future for all of the youth in his generation, and for those who will follow.

The most pressing issues we face from my perspective include the following:

  1. Addressing global climate change by ending our dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels and supporting alternative energy innovations;
  2. Assuring high quality public education to ensure the creation of future generations with a foundation of critical thinking skills, knowledge, and creativity necessary for addressing global challenges in peaceful, constructive ways;
  3. Ending our active involvement in and economic/political support for all arms-based approaches for resolving disputes and allocating funding to train people in peaceful strategies for effective conflict resolution;
  4. Revising tax policies to ensure that corporations and the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share;
  5. Using the revenues saved by ending our support for war and the revenues gained by fair tax policies to put people to work in a variety of capacities to rebuild an aging infrastructure, revitalize urban areas, transform mono-cultural chemical agriculture to organic farming, and develop new green technologies;
  6. Addressing poverty through job creation and adequate, humane support for those who are not able to work;
  7. Shifting our approach for dealing with criminal acts from isolation and punishment to restorative justice; and
  8. Recognizing that if we, as a nation, are to move forward as a constructive member of the global community, we need to acknowledge past atrocities here and abroad and commit to the long and arduous process of reconciliation for egregious harms done.

The choice is ours. We can continue to exploit the earth for momentary power, enact mean-spirited cuts to social safety net programs that deepen people’s suffering, and continue to lie about grievous harms perpetrated in the past, or we can focus on creating a better world for generations yet to come. For the sake of my grandson, I ask that you consider this list of suggestions as a beginning framework for future legislative agendas. I believe it is something all parents and grandparents would wish for the next generations if they were able to envision this as a possibility. I hope you will help make it so…

I thank you for asking for my suggestions and for taking the time to consider them thoughtfully.

Respectfully, …


Of course, dear Aadi, I come from a different generation than you. I’ve posted some songs from my younger days to encourage you to think about the world as it was long ago when I was your age, as it is today, and what you would like to see it become. Whatever you choose, my beloved grandson, please remember that I will always love you.

Universal Soldier – Buffy Sainte Marie

War – Edwin Starr.

Peace Train – Ysuf/Cat Stevens

What the World Needs Now – Jackie De Shannon

Get Together – The Young Bloods


Photo Credit: Public Domain Pictures

May you have a wonderful sixteenth year, dearest Aadi. And may the world you live in be the one Yusuf/Cat Stevens, Jackie De Shannon, and the Young Bloods sing about…

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


About Carol A. Hand

What matters are not the titles I’ve held or university degrees I earned or the size of a house or bank account. It’s really what I’ve learned from ordinary people like me whom I’ve met along the way. They taught me to live with gratitude and give thanks for each new day.
This entry was posted in Social Justice and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to A Birthday Wish

  1. Great message, great songs!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. smilecalm says:

    sweet love letter to the congressman!
    dear sentiments &
    a few song reminders to dust off
    and sing with friends later, thanks!
    love, it’s the only thing
    there’s just too little of 🙂


  3. schuttzie says:

    Love and Peace is what we need to wish for! Lovely words spoken to your grandson on his birthday. Many Blessings to you both!


  4. We’re in the process of enjoying your playlist and reflecting on how these songs are still so relevant today. Happy Birthday wishes to your grandson and thank you for that list of pressing issues.


  5. mandy says:

    What a wonderful birthday gift for your grandson, Carol, in words and music! He is a beautiful boy, now becoming a man. and you leave him a legacy of so much wisdom! Happy Birthday, Aadi!


  6. A beautiful gift for your grandson, a love letter summarizing the wishes for so many people on our beautiful planet, and songs of peace that are timeless. Thank you – Aida and Ahma.


  7. Lara/Trace says:

    love love love


  8. This is a most beautiful gift – I am in tears.


  9. Carol, would you allow me to reblog this post?


  10. Wonderful post Carol. It reminds me of something I wrote for last year’s high school graduation class in my community. Instead of giving money or gifts for graduation my gift was thoughtful words for the future. One can only hope that like seeds they eventually take root and grow.


    • carolahand says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Sean. I love your story about graduation. Given your gifts as a writer, I’m sure your words had a far more lasting effect than other kinds of gifts.


  11. Beautiful gift! Happy birthday, Aadi! Carol Hand for President!!!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You have given your grandson a legacy, a mandate, and a charge for the future and – if he’s anything like you – the words of your letter and your wishes for him will impact his life in strong and positive ways. So I send him wishes for a wonderful birthday and many more to come. It also happens to be our 17th wedding anniversary today. So, it’s nice to have some meaningful music to listen to.


    • carolahand says:

      Dear Skywalker, thank you for sharing such thoughtful and kind insights and blessings. And congratulations on your wedding anniversary – seventeen years! I’m glad you have music to help you celebrate 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I can’t wait to see Nolan’s response. Please post it. It will be tough to send something machine-written in response to your wish list.


  14. Pingback: Miracles Won’t Happen If We’re Afraid to Take Risks | Voices from the Margins

  15. Reblogged this on Aware & Fair and commented:
    A woman writes to her State Representative – as part of her birthday wish to her grandson! She begins the letter with, [Here is what] ‘I wish for his future, the future for all of the youth in his generation, and for those who will follow. The most pressing issues we face from my perspective include the following…’

    Besides the fact that this post moved me to tears, it is a hugely powerful idea in so many ways. It celebrates, cherishes, teaches and petitions.

    I’m inspired. Why not start a new birthday tradition?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Reblogged this on sliceofheaveninsweden and commented:
    I read this letter written to celebrate her grandson 16th birthday. I resonated so deep with me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


  17. Hi Carol,
    I just found your blog. After reading this post, I find myself at a loss for words. I wish your grandson a Happy Birthday.
    I am glad to read that I am not alone in my thoughts and beliefs about the changes we need from our world governments… I am now following your blog to be inspired. I like you will continue to make my voice be heard and trying every day to do my small part.


  18. Lynn says:

    This is the perfect gift and wish for all!!


  19. memadtwo says:

    Kudos for both words and songs.


  20. Jeff Nguyen says:

    I wish my grandmother would have given me presents like this, Carol. It is important for children to know there is someone, anyone, who cares enough about their futures to act and speak out. Your grandson will know he had someone in his life who actively worked to make the world a better place for him. That’s something that money just can’t buy.

    Happy belated birthday to Aadi!

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolahand says:

      It’s so good to hear from you, Jeff! I appreciate your thoughtful comments and your birthday blessings for Aadi. I’m grateful for all of the people like you who also do everything they can do to make the world a better place for everyone. ❤


  21. This took my breath away, in its love, care for your grandson, the earth and its people, and the choice of music you chose for him.

    Moving and very relevant, Carol. Happy birthday to your grandson.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Thank you so much for your kind and lovely comments, Cynthia. ❤


  23. Pat says:

    Thank you for sharing this letter, Carol, that you wrote in honor of Aidi’s birthday. Weaving together your deep love for him with your deep love for the world that we build, together, produced some powerful words, thoughts, and hopes that we can all receive as gifts. The music was such a treat, too! I look forward to knowing you more through your words. Gratitude.


  24. victorialise says:

    A true gift. A gift to all. So wonderfully moving and inspiring! Thank you, Carol.

    Liked by 1 person

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