Pan­han­dling mother needs as­sis­tance

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY >> I went to the mar­ket the other day, and there was a wo­man sit­ting on the side­walk with two chil­dren — a boy who looked to be about 6 and a girl about 2. She was hold­ing a sign ask­ing for help ($). I wanted so badly to say some­thing to her about what a poor ex­am­ple she was set­ting for her chil­dren by beg­ging. It made me an­gry be­cause I imag­ine she’s us­ing her kids as “props” to evoke sym­pa­thy.

This is a nice area. I would think she could bet­ter present her­self to her kids by look­ing for a job! What would have been an ap­pro­pri­ate com­ment to make to her that might help put her on the right track to show her kids how to grow up to be re­spon­si­ble peo­ple who work for a liv­ing? — Look­ing out for chil­dren in

Irvine, Calif.

DEAR LOOK­ING >> It’s wrong to as­sume any­thing when you see some­one who is pan­han­dling. The wo­man you saw could have been home­less, drug-ad­dicted, short on money or men­tally ill. She could also have fled an abu­sive hus­band or part­ner. That’s why it’s in­ap­pro­pri­ate to scold or lec­ture a pan­han­dler.

If you had said any­thing at all, you might have of­fered that there are dozens of shel­ters and or­ga­ni­za­tions in Irvine that help the un­for­tu­nate, and if she reached out to them, she might find the help she needs to get set­tled and find a job.

DEAR ABBY >> My 6-year-old grand­son, “Joey,” is the light of my life. He’s out­go­ing, com­pas­sion­ate, smart and fun. The “prob­lem” is, he prefers girl things to boy things, and has since he was old enough to ex­press his wants. Fash­ion, makeup, hair­styles — he is the ex­pert. His par­ents grum­ble, but re­al­ize that he can be who he is and be happy, or they can try to change him and he will turn out to be neu­rotic.

The is­sue is with the fa­ther of a friend of his who will not ac­cept who Joey is. The man yells at Joey for play­ing with girl things and tells his son to tell on Joey when he does girl things.

Abby, this man is the prin­ci­pal of a mid­dle school. As a re­tired ed­u­ca­tor, I want to speak with him about his be­hav­ior and the ef­fect it can have on a young child. What could I say that might make him re­al­ize that this is not only detri­men­tal to Joey, but to all those young minds he helps to shape on a daily ba­sis?

— Light of my life

DEAR LIGHT >> Joey’s par­ents should talk to that man and de­mand that he stop bul­ly­ing their son. They should warn him that if he scape­goats a child at his school that way, he could wind up in front of the school board and lose his job. He’s not only dis­crim­i­nat­ing, but also en­cour­ag­ing the scape­goat­ing of at-risk chil­dren. And, I’m sad to say, Joey’s par­ents should prob­a­bly cur­tail their son’s friend­ship with the man’s son.

DEAR ABBY >> I have a co­worker, “Suzette,” who, since last month, has be­gun to smell like kitty lit­ter ev­ery day. Suzette is in her mid-50s. While I con­sider her a friend, she can be tem­per­a­men­tal and tends to fly off the han­dle and run to HR.

I would like to tell her about the odor in case it is some­thing med­i­cal that’s un­di­ag­nosed. Is there a way to say some­thing that won’t em­bar­rass her or get me in trou­ble with HR?

— Del­i­cate nose

DEAR DEL­I­CATE >> The way to han­dle this would be to in­form HR and let some­one there dis­cuss it with her.

Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

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