As a boy I always had a rather sunny disposition and, for the most part, the people around me reflected back to me warm affirmation in return. My parents communicated to me in their own ways that they loved me as a son and liked me as a person. I was the child they did not plan on having, much younger than my brother and sister, so I grew up as if I had four doting parents who enjoyed my company and delighted in my accomplishments. The home in which I grew up was largely free from conflict. I cannot remember a single instance when someone in my family raised a voice in anger. I always had a close circle of friends, and although we would often tease each other, we all knew without needing to be told that for the most part it was done with affection. So I approached the world with an openness as wide and trusting as the outstretched arms of someone anticipating an embrace.