THE office meeting was going on and on. It was Halloween, and my three boys at home had planned festivities for the evening, and Mother was not there. I excused myself and phoned home. ``Somebody has to get Dan to the school party, dressed up as something!'' I told one of the older boys who answered the phone.

I was going to throw a sheet around Dan, my six-year-old, and have him go as a ghost. Perhaps they could think of something better.

I was assured they would get Dan to the school affair before they took off...

No one was there when I arrived home.

Soon the door opened, and Dan was practically shoved through so the boys could get on with their nightly trick-or-treating.

It was amazing what had been accomplished. Here was this small son of mine, dressed in a man's jacket and some sort of hat, his face with drawn-on beard, sideburns, mustache - and gleaming from sideburn to sideburn. An astonishing job, I had to admit.

``I won a prize, Mom!'' he gleefully announced.

I was thrilled that my three boys had cared for each other on this particular Halloween. Eleanor H. Buser, San Diego

At a very good time for our family of growing youngsters, the Monitor published an article about a family that awarded an ``achievement cake'' to any member of the family who received public recognition (straight A's, Scouting awards, becoming a grade officer or chairman of committees, etc.).

The story touched me deeply. I liked the idea of the whole family's participating in the reward and of the recipient being able to share one.

Our family used the famous ``Waldorf'' cake. Six children graduated from college and many achievement cakes. Achievements continued after the cake-giving had been discontinued.

Today, I would recognize not only the public achievements, but also acts of deep kindness, such as when one not-very-well-paid young adult was responsible for a Mother's Day dinner for me and two totally broke younger siblings, or when another child traveled many miles to help a 15-year-old sibling get adjusted to a school.

My seventh child, younger than the rest by several years, was also an achiever, but with just the two of us, a big cake was impractical. But I was just as proud of her.

Today the cake idea should probably be updated to an ``achievement pizza,'' which would serve the purpose just as well and meet modern tastes. Helen P. Robbins, Greensboro, N.C.

The response to In the Family has been strong in terms of both comments and contributions. Many thanks to those of you who have written to us.

If you would like to share a short constructive experience about family relationships, please send it with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to In the Family, Home & Family page, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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