to Teach Your
Children to Love
often wondered how parents teach their children to love.
other day I found one way.
was writing a screenplay with a former undercover Mountie, Sergeant
Dalton Taggart. He, his wife and two teenage sons live in Victoria, and
I had a wonderful time staying with them and working on the movie.
two Taggart boys, both in their late teens, are ideal kids. I think the
next lie either one of them tells will be their first. Theyíre
good-looking, industrious and bright, and both have inherited the charm
and humour of their parents. Swarms of teenage girls chase after them.
remarked to Dalton that their younger boy, Steve, seemed to be
exceptionally warm and loving toward his mother.
he was three, he broke his Motherís heart," said Dalton. "It
was a bone-chilling Edmonton night. Outside, a blizzard raged. When I
came home, my wife was crying. Steve had kept telling her that he
didnít love her."
Dalton has spent most of his adult life facing down some of the most
dangerous and lethal killers in the world, I wondered how a man like
that would deal with such a small family member.
boys were in their little beds," said Dalton, "dressed in
fluffy pajamas, the ones with sock feet. I said to Steve, ĎI
understand you told your mother you didnít love her.í He nodded.
much fun to be in a house where you donít love your Mother, is it?
Steve said it wasnít much fun. So I asked him, ĎI bet you donít
love your brother or me either, do you?í Steve said he didnít. His
older brother started to cry. I did the only thing I could--I apologized
Iím sorry, we donít want to keep you here if you donít love us. He
smiled and agreed totally, said he didnít want to stay. I lifted him
out of his bed and told him to say goodbye to his brother. His brother
cried louder but I explained that we had to be brave, that it was unfair
to keep Steve in a home where he didnít love anyone. After all, there
were lots of families out there who he could love.
took Steve to the door; we shook hands. He said he would find a better
family. I opened the door and the blizzard swirled in, but Steve was
anxious to leave. ĎDonít bother the neighbours,í I said. ĎWe
wouldnít want you to even think of living close to people you donít
little guy eagerly agreed, then slogged out into the screaming snow. I
gently closed the door.
brother ran up with Steveís teddy bear. I told my older boy that it
would be all right. I was watching Steve through the curtain to make
sure he didnít get lost as he marched into a new life. I switched off
the porch light."
took about seven seconds for Steve to stumble back through chest-high
snow drifts to our porch and pound on our door.
opened the door and there shivered Steve, his tears freezing to his
cheek. ĎI love Mummy,í he said. ĎI love all of you.í
youíve just forgotten your teddy bear and youíre trying to make us
feel better because we all love you,í I said.
he said, "I really do love you. I donít want to find another
family. I love this one."
Iím sure there are many other reasons why the Taggarts have such a loving family. But I couldnít help but wonder what would have happened if some of Canadaís most hardened criminals had learned a little bit about tough love when they were three.
starters, Sergeant Taggart would have had a lot less work to do over the