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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Love the Children

Felice R. Prager writes in Reader's Digest (August, 1999) that the kids had been driving her nuts, asking her to buy them a talking bird, until she finally got them a parrot. They named him Wilbur and tried to teach him some words, but all he would say was, "Hello. Hello." Her oldest son Jeff worked with Wilbur, trying to get him to say, "Jeff is the greatest." Nothing.

Her husband tried. "Give this guy a raise," he repeated. Nothing.

Felice took a turn. "Clean your room." Still nothing.

Finally, Wilbur started talking. During dinner all they heard was: "He did it. No, he did it." And then, "Get out of my room!"

Hers is not the only house where those words are repeated like a childhood mantra! My heart goes out to parents. Like the father who lamented, "When I was a child, I never gave any thought to running away from home. But now that I am a parent, I think about it all the time."

Some advice I heard several years ago has inspired me to constantly give my best to my children. The advice, surprisingly, came from someone who was not a parent at all, but rather a nun. It was offered by Mother Teresa shortly after she made a speech about her work with the sick and dying and her efforts to help orphans in India. Following her address, a member of the audience stood and asked, "You have done so much to make the world a better place. What can we do?" He clearly wanted to assist in her work.

Mother Teresa smiled and said simply, "Love your children."

The questioner looked perplexed and seemed about to speak again when Mother Teresa raised her hand. "There are other things you can do," she said, "but that is the best. Love your children. Love your children as much as you can. That is the best."

I can't help but believe that her advice, if followed by all parents and all adults in all places at all times, will transform our world in a generation. Just love the children - all the children. Love them as much as you can. That is best.

Story by Steve Goodier

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