DEAR ABBY: As a young parent, I was appalled to hear other parents threaten to call the police and have their children taken to jail when they misbehaved.
I am now in my 80s and I'm horrified to see that the same threat is still being used. I raised five children and taught them that the police were their friends.
It paid off when my 4-year-old son, Larry, disappeared while we were shopping. As I frantically searched for him, I spotted him perched on an officer's shoulder. After having Larry identify me, the policeman laughed and told me that Larry had approached him for help. When he asked my son if he was lost, Larry answered: "No, I'm not lost. I'm here. My mamma is lost. Will you find her for me?" That was only one time out of many that the police have befriended us. I wish you would print something to the effect that law enforcement officers are there to help.
Also, I do not believe in corporal punishment. I have always felt that children are usually punished when parents are angry, not when the children are naughty. As my mother always said, "What you are too stupid to teach them, you cannot knock into them." So I have never had to resort to corporal punishment.
I love your column and your sensible answers. -- FREDA L. DAVIS, KEAAU, HAWAII
DEAR FREDA: Thank you. I agree. It makes no sense to make a child fearful of the very person he or she may need in an emergency. Children who are treated with respect will grow up to respect others. Hitting teaches only that might makes right.
DEAR ABBY: A few years ago, a man named Robert wrote to you. He was brokenhearted because a girl he loved would not wait for his return from a mission for the Special Operations branch of the Army. You told him that the lady he lost was in fact the loser. Your kind response meant a lot to him.
How do I know? Today it is I who waits for this wonderful man. I met Robert two years ago on the Internet. I was a single mother living on a farm in the foothills of North Carolina. Robert was living in California. Soon after we met, he was deployed to Guam on a voluntary mission.
With Internet access in Guam, we were able to continue our relationship, which was built on communication and a mountain of faith. We eventually grew to love each other.
In March 1997, Robert flew directly to North Carolina from Guam and we met face-to-face for the first time. It was a dream come true for both of us. Robert and I drove to California to stay with his family while we finalized wedding plans and looked for a home of our own.
Shortly after we arrived, we learned that Robert would deploy again, this time involuntarily as part of a civil affairs mission to Bosnia. His orders were for 270 days.
Today I patiently await his return, when I will become his wife. He is the love of my life and I am grateful we found each other.
Abby, you were right when you said someday there will be a girl deserving of Robert's love and she will have the patience to wait for him. Well, that girl is me. Thank you for your letter to him those few years ago. You gave him faith and now his wait is over. -- AMY IN REDLANDS, CALIF.
DEAR AMY: I'm delighted I could help. My best wishes to both of you for a long and happy marriage.
Abby shares more of her favorite, easy-to-prepare recipes. To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, More Favorite Recipes, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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