The best compliment to a child or a friend is the feeling you give him that he has been set free to make his own inquiries, to come to conclusions that are right for him, whether or not they coincide with your own.
After [my father had] seen me in five or six things, he said, Son, your mother and I really enjoyed your recent film, and I must say that you're a lot like John Wayne. And I said, How so? And he said, Well, you're exactly the same in all your roles. Now, as a modern American actor, that's not what you want to hear. But for a guy who watched John Wayne movies and grew up in Iowa, it's a sterling compliment.