Small kindness makes big difference in child's life

DEAR ABBY: I was wondering if you would see that "Hugs Anonymous in Illinois" (June 27) gets this letter. She's the 11-year-old girl who gave a hug to "Stacey," a special-ed child. I want to thank her for being the kindhearted child she is. People like her are in short supply these days.

I have a son, "Jed," who is also in special-ed. He was lonely and stressed out because most of the kids hassled him. It reached the point that he would pull his hair out, which only gave the kids more ammunition to pick on him.

This past year, though, he met Matthew, who has been a true friend. Since then, Jed has had less stress and a happier disposition. It's amazing what just one friend can change. I want to encourage "Hugs" to consider having a special friendship with Stacey. It could change her life.

I would like to add a final note to parents everywhere: Please teach your children that we are all the same inside, and that everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.


DEAR MOM: Other readers were inspired by "Hugs'" letter, which reminded us how a small act of kindness can go a long way. My prayer is that more people will "embrace" the attitude of this mature and sensitive 11-year-old girl. Creating a more compassionate world happens one person at a time.

And while we're on the subject of compassion, read on:

DEAR ABBY: I recently witnessed something that renewed my faith in the younger generation.

I was on my way to a craft festival recently and was passing under a freeway overpass. There were the usual homeless people asleep under the bridge, including one man who was sprawled on the concrete. Two young people walking by wore spiked hair, piercings, tattoos &

the whole "Goth" look.

One of them bent down next to the homeless man, then stood up and kept walking. I was concerned about what they might have done, so I walked over to the man. I found the young man had left a bottle of water for the homeless man.

I ran to catch up with the couple and told them I had seen what they did and wanted to shake their hands. The young man just shrugged and said he thought the man might be thirsty.

With young people like that walking our streets, I no longer worry about the future of our country.


DEAR JOEL: Your letter, like the previous one, is a breath of fresh air. By not prejudging a person by his or her appearance we can put an end to stereotyping. Thank you for sharing your experience with me and my readers.

DEAR ABBY: I separated from my husband about a year ago, but only recently filed for divorce. We were married 12 years and have two beautiful children.

During our separation, I met an amazing man. He's everything I ever wanted in a relationship. This man has proposed to me after only eight months of dating. I truly love him, but I think I need some time to breathe. He loves my family, and he wants us to be married as soon as my divorce is final. What advice do you have for me?


DEAR MIXED-UP: Please do not jump from the frying pan into the fire, regardless of how warm, fuzzy and inviting it may appear. You may call yourself "mixed-up," but you appear to have a good head on your shoulders. Listen to your intuition. It's telling you to do nothing on the rebound, and that if this relationship is as good as you think it is, it will last. You have more than yourself to consider; your decision will affect your children.

DEAR ABBY: I am 28, single, and have no kids. I don't want any. I love the freedom of picking up and doing what I want when I want, and I wouldn't trade that for anything. I come from a large family and have many nieces and nephews. I love them all, and some of my friends have children that I adore, too.

The problem is, I don't want them coming to my house unannounced. Many of these kids are small, and I have many breakables around my home. When I'm planning on having "little visitors," I take special care to put away anything I don't want broken.

I have tried explaining to friends and family that as much as I'd love for them to visit with the kids, please give me 30 minutes' notice at least, so I can child-proof my home. Many of them have taken this badly, assuming that I don't want their kids and, by extension, them in my home. How do I make it clearer?


DEAR MYRA: I see nothing out of line about asking that friends or family please call before dropping over to allow you a few minutes to prepare for the visit. Aside from the fact that you have breakables in your house, what if you weren't dressed or presentable?

Calling first is common courtesy. You should not have to "make it clearer" because the people who are rude are the "drop-ins" &

with or without children in tow. Of course, some parents have so completely lost their perspective that they cannot distinguish between themselves and their children, but that's another story.

DEAR ABBY: My problem is my older sister. She lives across the country from me, but feels, as she has since we were teenagers, that before I sell old records and CDs to get credit at the store to buy new merchandise, I should consult her to see if she wants any of the stuff I'm selling.

I have taken good care of my records over the years, so I can get top dollar, then buy more items I want while culling the things I don't listen to anymore. My sister acts like she should have first dibs and tries to guilt-trip me for not thinking of her first. What's up? I feel that almost 30 years of guilt-tripping is enough. I have made my position clear, but she tries to force me to grovel and convince her that I have done the right thing.

I don't make a lot of money. I couldn't afford to buy the things I get if I didn't first clean out the old stuff. She brings up the topic every chance she gets, and constantly asks if I have cleaned out my supply of unwanted items. Is there any way to get her to let this go?


DEAR TIRED OF GROVELING: You're making two mistakes. When your sister raises the subject, you can't resist taking the bait. And then you let her push your buttons. The next time she mentions the subject of your housecleaning, change the subject. And if she tries to make you feel guilty &

laugh. People continue to push buttons only as long as they work. If you fail to react, she will eventually stop.

Dear Abby is written by , also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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