DR. WALLACE: I had a slumber party for my birthday and invited five of my very closest girlfriends. After they left the next day, I was tidying up in my room, and I noticed one of my rings was missing. I called and mentioned it to my very closest friend, and she said she’d check with the other girls. I thanked her for helping me out because I had to go to my grandmother’s house with my parents and didn’t have time to contact all of the other girls individually. I told her to make sure to say there would be no questions asked if it was returned.

Well, when I got home the next day, my ring was in a paper napkin in my family’s mailbox! I was very happy to get it back because my grandmother had given it to me for Christmas a year ago. But now I’m feeling really angry that one of my best friends stole it! I could possibly figure out who it was because the napkin was from a local fast food restaurant. I would never accuse anyone if I did actually find out who it was, but I would always be on guard if I knew who did it. Should I try to find out? — Ring Returned Girl, Portland, Oregon

RING RETURNED GIRL: Absolutely not! You said that no questions would be asked. You should keep your word about this matter. It could be that it was stolen, but it also could be that one of the girls planned to wear it for a short while and return it without you ever noticing it was gone. It’s truly impossible to say who took it and why. The good news is that you have it back now.

In the future, you can keep any valuables out of sight (or place them in your parents’ room) should you hold future slumber parties.

DR. WALLACE: Please answer my question if possible. My mother has been identified as an alcoholic. Our entire family is trying to get her to go to Alcoholics Anonymous, and she is almost ready to take that step. The only problem is that her sister keeps telling her that it is impossible to cure alcoholism and she would only be wasting her time going to AA. I know that an alcoholic can be cured, or at least alter their behavior. That’s why people go to AA. Will you please print my letter because when Mom is sober, she reads your column! She’s actually a wonderful person; she just has a flaw. — Daughter Who Wants Mom To Heal, via email

DAUGHTER WHO WANTS MOM TO HEAL: Alcoholics Anonymous is a wonderful self-help program for those who wish to stop drinking. Though alcoholism has no cure in the ordinary sense of the term, alcoholics can live a healthy, happy life if they totally eliminate their alcohol intake. And when I say totally eliminate alcohol, that’s what I mean. This is a difficult task for most alcoholics, but it can be done, and AA is the support that many people who wish to make a positive change lean on.

Keep encouraging mom to get involved with Alcoholics Anonymous. Her life is much too precious to waste on alcohol. To learn more about alcoholics anonymous, visit their website.

DR. WALLACE: I disagree with your reply to a girl who asked you to judge the “better” report card: one with A’s in English, geometry and Spanish or one with A’s in physical education, auto shop and art. Although this young lady may be superior in verbal skills versus formulaic problem-solving, her brother is superior in creative problem-solving and physical/visual skills.

We agree that both students should be proud of their grades, however, I do not agree that one report card was better than the other. Each student shows exceptional talents at different tasks, each valuable in its own right and necessary for the sake of humanity. Our society is in dire need of both of the students; we should be eager for her to become a verbal communicator with logical thought, and look to her brother for future technological advances and expressive communication.

I commend them both equally for their report cards. As for you, Dr. Wallace, I suggest you enroll in an art class! In a good one, you will find yourself quite intellectually challenged. — Art Teacher, Orlando, Florida

ART TEACHER: I have taken challenging classes in art and enjoyed them immensely. I also have a master’s degree in physical education from Northern Illinois University. These are important programs, but I still feel that courses in mathematics, English and foreign languages are more challenging for most students.

When computing grade-point averages, many schools rate an A in geometry and other selected courses higher than an A in physical education. That’s why some students graduate with a grade-point average of over 4.0, which is a straight-A average. However, the student with an A average in auto shop, PE and art should receive high praise from his or her proud parents. Both of the students mentioned in the original letter are outstanding!

Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at rwallace@thegreatestgift.com.  

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