“So it took an eight-year-old child to bring 'em to their senses.... That proves something - that a gang of wild animals can be stopped, simply because they're still human. . . ." Atticus Finch commented the night a lynch mob visited him and Tom Robinson at the county jail. Scout, Jem and Dill had shown up, unsure what was occurring, and Scout, remembering her manners, had tried to strike up a friendly conversation with a classmate's father, Walter Cunningham, who was taken off guard by Scout's friendly overtures and called off the mob. Atticus was visibly shaken after the encounter, and, far from punishing Jem for refusing to take Scout and Dill home as he had instructed, Atticus ruffles Jem's hair affectionately as they walk home.
Although Atticus isn't always overtly affectionate, he does hug his children, read to them, and speak to them with love and respect, even when he's unhappy with Scout for fighting in the schoolyard or Jem for destroying Mrs. Dubose's camellia bushes.