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 As a child, I always used to wonder about the foolish choices people in folk tales would make when they were granted three wishes, getting themselves into so much trouble with the first two wishes that they needed to waste their last wish to fix everything. Why didn’t they start by wishing for at least 100 wishes and then keep track so as not to run out? Why didn’t they wish that only wise wishes they truly wanted would be granted?

Turning 70 today, I have put a lot of thought into what my own wishes are, now that I am almost grown up. Being somewhat greedy about things like this, I decided to think big, while still being practical. Here goes:

1. I wish for ALL my wise wishes – and ONLY my wise wishes – to come true. I mean, why limit myself to just 100? By “wise wishes,” I mean wishes that will be good for me and for others – that will bring us joy and purpose and well being.

2. Not having a genie or a fairy handy, I wish to have the capacity and the commitment to work for and grant my wishes myself, with some help from my family and friends.

3. I wish for long, happy, healthy, safe, and successful lives for everyone important to me, including many wonderful years ahead for ME and for YOU – and for everyone important to everyone who is important to us.

That’s not too much to ask, is it?

Right now, I am grateful and blessed to have most of the things I want. At this turn of my decade, mostly I want for good things to continue in MY own life and in YOUR own life – and for nothing bad to happen in anyone’s life – and for all of us to create a better world to live in.

However, I did think of one thing I am lacking and went to Ed, my husband of almost 44 years, and announced with great cheer, “Liefert!”

“Liefert” means “darling” in Dutch and, when said in that particular way, means ‘Uh Oh!” to Ed.

“What now?” Ed asked nervously.

“Liefert,” I said enthusiastically, “What would you think about adopting a CHILD?”

Just as I had hoped, Ed exploded, “Are you CRAZY?!!!!”

“Well then,” I said reasonably, “How about a DOG, then?”

So, as soon as our leaky roof is fixed, we will be getting a dog, which will almost certainly be Ed’s even more than mine.

Finally, of course, I wish that each of you will find Kidpower helpful in making your own wise wishes come true.

And I thank you for being on this journey with me, making our vision for Kidpower a reality.

P.S. Usually, I just write about Kidpower. So, for those of you who missed them, I thought you might enjoy these blog posts from my last two birthdays and last anniversary:

Letter to My 19-Year-Old Self: 50 Years Later

To Love, Honor, and Disobey: In Celebration of Our 43rd Wedding Anniversary

Hartelijk Gefeliciteerd! – Sharing a Dutch family tradition


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Published: April 27, 2018   |   Last Updated: April 27, 2018

Kidpower Founder and Executive Irene van der Zande is a master at teaching safety through stories and practices and at inspiring others to do the same. Her child protection and personal safety expertise has been featured by USA Today, CNN, Today Moms, the LA Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Publications include: cartoon-illustrated Kidpower Safety Comics and Kidpower Teaching Books curriculum; Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe; the Relationship Safety Skills Handbook for Teens and Adults; Earliest Teachable Moment: Personal Safety for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers; The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People, and the Amazon Best Seller Doing Right by Our Kids: Protecting Child Safety at All Levels.