Sometimes saying nothing is best thing
While I'm away, readers give the advice.
On what to say to someone struggling with unemployment • Hey, as far as I'm concerned, the only thing one doesn't want to say to a person in distress is what someone said to me: "What I try and do is be open to all that life brings, whatever comes." OK, I thought. When I get out of this mess I'll head south and drive off the road into the desert and run out of gas. I won't bring water. Then I'll shoot out my tires. Just think of all I'll get to experience then! The only thing worse than trying to fix someone with words is not feeling some small piece of what they're feeling.
On fears of raising entitled children • Surely the parents (who wrote to you about this) confuse cause and effect. Is their success not due to their educational achievements rather than the source of their tuition? I bet their parents didn't do their homework for them and try to get their teachers to give them unearned good grades so they could go to top universities. I bet their parents encouraged and supported and, yes, required that they do their very best in school from day one. I bet they learned values and behaviors that have nothing to do with money. Moreover, these parents could think of the rewards of their own success as a means to greatly enrich the lives of their children. Take them to plays and concerts, musicals and operas, dance programs and ballets. Go to museums. Go abroad when they are old enough to explore their national origins and different cultures. Take a family trip on a small ship with naturalists and historians who will take them snorkeling and kayaking and hiking and teach them about the places they visit. Float down the Grand Canyon. By the time they are in college, the last thing they will want to do on spring break is show how rich their parents are by getting drunk in Cabo San Lucas! Their wealth and success are not curses to be overcome. They are tools to give their kids the broadest exposure possible to the best, and worst, of the world to get a truly broad education.
Carolyn Hax's column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.