So we have a friend, having a milestone birthday, and his wife requested that we provide a gift of words. This friend is about the age of my children, and a creative type person.
The trouble is both my wife and I are technical people. We write well enough as we have both been published in journal articles and are teachers at heart. Creative is not our forte, and when we do write it is always with the bent of teaching. This is exasperated as the friend is about our children's age, their child refers to us as grandma and grandpa, and we are not 100% happy with some of his decisions. Nothing immoral in the decisions, just not what we would do in their situation.
So the last thing this person would want is to be preached at with their birthday gift of words, and both my wife and I would tend to do that. Any ideas on how to get an idea of something to write? An underlying motivation is that I want this to mean something.
Now a suggestion that I anticipate is that you should write about hobbies, but that is one of our "not happy decisions". They are saying that they want to save for a house. Fine, they don't make a lot of money, but at the same time he signed up for some acting classes. Again fine, but it conflicts with their stated goals: saving for a house. The acting was not going to lead to greater income, nor were they cheap. Writing about that, I will come across preachy.
So my block is a bit different than most. I know what I want to write about, but I fear doing so would be seen as a non-gift if not an insult. Any other ideas?
Update: I ended up writing a short note that ended up being encouraging and pointing out good habits. Also I gave him a book of poetry by Poe, one of his favorites. While an awesome suggestion, the grandchild in this case, is too young to write out words (less than a year). Also they bought their house. They both received large raises, and he gave up the acting classes on his own. All things worked out, although he is now making other choices I don't really agree with. :^)