Daily Press (Sunday)

Compassion has no limits

- Send questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@ creators.com

Editor’s note: The following column was published in 2020.

Dear Annie: Your responders are showing the wonderful ways they are illustrati­ng generosity and care this season, even at the expense of their own enjoyment of the holidays. A suggestion for making those benefits available past Jan. 1 would be to adopt a school or family or shelter, and to continue that commitment. Hunger has no season. Compassion has no limits.

Dear Compassion: I love your letter. The more we can give to others, the better we feel about ourselves. It is a beautiful circle of joy. Thank you.

Dear Annie: I read the article about grown children living at home and disrespect­ing their parents. I, too, had to apply the “tough love” strategy to one of my children. In a nutshell, my oldest son left for college at 18, finished his freshman year, found a girlfriend and, at 19, decided to switch colleges. He moved into an apartment with a couple of high school friends and began his sophomore year at the university. I soon began to notice that whenever I called the apartment, he was never there. His friends would tell him to call home, which he would. I soon caught on that he was no longer living at the apartment I was paying for. He had moved in with his girlfriend, dropped classes so he could work to pay rent and run up every credit card he applied for. We finally had a family discussion about all this, and it was decided he would move home, get a full-time job and start paying off his debts. His girlfriend did the same.

The problem was, once he returned home, he didn’t find a job. He worked part time once in a while and kept hours well beyond our curfew. He was given an ultimatum: three strikes and you’re out. After the third time he came home at 3 a.m. after partying, I knew what I had to do. I packed up all of his belongings, put them out on the driveway and told him he could no longer live under our roof. I also told him I loved him so very much and that was the hardest decision I ever had to make. I cried all night the first night and hardly slept for a week. He bounced around from friend to friend for about a month.

Then, he got a job; he got an apartment; and he started turning his life around. Two years later, he told me that he never blamed me for kicking him out and said that it was probably the best thing I had ever done for him. We have a great relationsh­ip. He is nearly 40 now, married with kids, and he has a solid career. I should note that our other children took notice and did not follow in his footsteps. — ToughLove Mom

Dear Tough-Love Mom:

Congratula­tions on doing one of the hardest and kindest things you could do for your son. You are correct that if you enable bad behavior, there really is little incentive to change. What you did for your son changed the trajectory of his life forever. Your tough love paid off. Kudos.

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