Dear Dr. Laura,
I would like to tell you about my friend Dennis. He, myself and another friend, Tim, were camped out in the mountains hunting deer. Tim's 9 year old daughter, Katie, wanted to spend her birthday with us so her grandfather brought her up. When Katie poked her head inside the trailer where we were eating, Dennis' face lit up and almost sing-songy he said, "Katie! We've been waiting for you! Come here, let me give the birthday girl a hug!" I could see by the look on his face that Dennis was genuinely happy to see Katie. He made that little girl's day and she was happy too.
Watching their interaction made me feel sad I didn't have the same level of joy Dennis had when he saw Katie and I had to ask myself, "Why?"
All my adult life I have viewed most children as a nuisance and as pests and looking back I can see that's how I was treated by my parents. My mother frequently raged and my dad was passive. I remember my mother calling us (my brothers and I) "little hellians", and screaming "I hate you!" at us. Beatings happened all too often. My dad pretty much ignored what was going on.
Watching Dennis, a macho type guy, gush over Katie with his deep, soft-hearted affection made me uncomfortable and jealous at the same time. But it also changed me too.
Because of my friend Dennis, I have seen where I was wrong. Because of my friend Dennis, I will forever treat children with unabashed kindness. Because my friend Dennis I will be nicer to people.
Thank you Dennis. You are a good man.