ONE day when my children were little, I was busy talking on the phone. As usual, the longer I talked, the crankier the children became. I was wiping noses, stepping around dogs, handing out juice and snacks - all over the whining of the little ones.
Finally, in exasperation, I turned to our two-year-old, covered the phone, and demanded, ``Alex, what is it you want?''
He looked me directly in the eye and said, ``I want you!''
I knew in an instant that all my placating and diverting was ineffective in the face of such straightforward communication.
That statement expressed such clear desire that it served to remind me - not only just then, but also in the years to come - that direct attention, really listening, caring, and loving were the values my husband and I shared.
These values helped us establish the atmosphere we desired in our home.
Needless to say, I hung up immediately. Anne Palen Belmont, Calif.
While caring for a young friend whose parents were in the hospital for the birth of their second child, I found a cassette tape enclosed in her suitcase. Both parents had recorded favorite bedtime stories and prayers.
It was a comfort for the child to hear her parents' voices and laughter, especially at bedtime, when she missed them most! Jean Gallic West Point, N.Y.
If you would like to share a short constructive experience about family, please send it to In the Family, Home & Family page, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.