WHEN I was growing up as an only child in the '30s and '40s, my parents worked hard. There wasn't often money left over for luxuries or trifles. It wasn't always so, but most of the time it was. Like all children, I would ask from time to time for a toy, a game, or something to wear that I had been wishing for. These days I am a grandmother. But when I am in the stores shopping and hear angry responses by mothers to their little ones' wishes, often cruel put-downs, I am reminded of my own mother's contrasting response to me.

She'd say, ``Oh darling, I would love to get that for you, and I wish I could, but I don't have the money right now. Someday, I may be able to.''

I imagine that there were times when she felt guilty for not being able to get me things. I'm certain she was exhausted from working long hours and worried over financial and other problems.

Yet, in spite of all that, she could put herself in the shoes of a small child, share the dream-wish, and in a gentle, loving way say ``no.'' At the same time, she gave a practical reason and hope that someday she could make the dream come true. She did, too!

The idea is that a child will respond positively to open, loving, sincere communication from parents. It helps to generate a peaceful, contented climate within the family, even when parents must be gently firm. It helps the child to grow into an open and loving person. Billie Sherman, Pittsburgh

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