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by Abigail Van Buren

Loving Father Offers Prayer for Parents at Wit's End

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 46-year-old father of four, married to the same woman for 23 years. Being a parent is not easy. I know that child abuse statistics are soaring these days.

I've enclosed a prayer that came to mind one day in the midst of the daily chaos. If it causes one parent to pause long enough to avoid verbally, emotionally or physically hurting the child he or she loves, it will have been worth the effort of mailing it to you. -- JUST ANOTHER DAD IN ARIZONA

DEAR DAD: Rest assured, your effort was not wasted. I love the prayer -- and so will my readers. Read on:


Healthy children make lots of noise.

They sing, they shout, they belly laugh, they fight, they bang things together, they bounce things, they cry, they scream, they make lots of noise.

They play loud.

God, bless my healthy children. Give me new ears, ears that hear the music of their noise.

Give me new understanding, understanding that doesn't crush their spirits with my intolerance and oversensitivity.

Give me a new Peace, a Peace that is grateful for the sounds created by healthy children.

DEAR ABBY: This letter is prompted by the one about warning beepers on airport carts and heavy equipment. A "start-up" beeper on school buses would greatly reduce child-related accidents when the bus moves. Children forget to be careful after getting off the bus. A warning beep would let them know it is about to move.

It could probably be installed at a reasonable cost. Bus drivers could be mandated by law to wait for the timed beeps to cease before moving the vehicle, thus giving children time to move out of the way.

Don't you think this would save lives if action groups insisted that it be done? I do. -- R.K. COLLINGS, OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA

DEAR R.K.: I do, too. And the expense would be minimal if you take into consideration the value of a child's life. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: In your response to a letter about warning beepers on airport carts, you mentioned back-up beepers on heavy equipment. I am in my mid-80s, and I can't turn around and look behind my car as well as I once could, so I had a back-up beeper installed on my car. It cost less than $50. Other seniors would be wise to have this device installed on their cars to protect those we may not see behind us. --DOMINIC BRUNO, DELTONA, FLA.

DEAR DOMINIC: Why only seniors? I'm sure drivers of every age occasionally put their cars into reverse without looking back. Such a warning for pedestrians, pets and children could save life and limb.

DEAR ABBY: Do you think a woman can be in love with two men at one time? -- PAT IN SPARTANBURG, S.C.

DEAR PAT: No. But she can be infatuated with two men (or more!) at the same time.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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