Q. Re: Bait and switch: If the husband does decide to leave, there may be resistance from his wife. They may be glad to know there's a Biblical basis for this in 1 Corinthians 7. "If the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband?"
A: Maybe he can just pack up his stuff and leave this as a note on her pillow!
Q. Graduation (Please Help): So I am 25 and have struggled with completing school (the first few years of college I just kept failing out semester after semester due to lack of drive). The last two years I have dedicated to getting my associates degree before transferring to a four-year to finish. My younger sister is not only graduating this December from nursing school, but also has managed to graduate earlier than her peers and has a full-time job already lined up. My question to you is how do I deal with family members and their comments about why my younger sister (21) is graduating ahead of me? My dad has already made a few snide remarks about how at least someone is graduating college and early to boot. I still live at home, but pay for everything by myself (as does my sister). I am truly happy to be there for her graduation and party, but it's giving me anxiety and I am thinking of planning a trip out of town for the graduation ceremony and party. Please help me figure out how to graciously deal with inquisitions about my younger sister.
A: You are getting yourself on track, so continue to build on your success. I'm wondering if you may have some underlying learning or concentration issues. Please consider getting an evaluation and seeing if there are problems that have been making school work hard for you. Don't leave town. You will be a role model for others if you can join in the celebration of your younger sister. Practice making a toast to her celebrating her dedication to her career and saying how lucky the patients she treats will be. If you can carry off being proud of her, that will defuse a lot of your anxiety about the judgment of others. If they ask what you're up to, inform them that you're happily moving toward getting your B.A. You want to have a separate conversation with your father and tell him it's true you've had more of a struggle than your sister, but his making comparisons only makes you feel bad and you'd appreciate it if he wouldn't. But do check into the counseling offices at your school and see if there's something you can address to make your path easier.
Q. No Gifts, Please: What do you think of declaring Hanukkah a "no gifts" holiday? We are attempting to figure out our family traditions (due to a new baby) and see it as a time to do special things with family and for others but would rather avoid consumerism. Are you terrible for denying grandparents the opportunity to give gifts to their grandchild?
A: You don't have to worry about turning your baby into a gift-grubbing consumer on his or her first Hanukkah. Instead of making any declarations, see what the grandparents do. If it's one nice gift, or eight token ones, then good. If you're inundated with an over-the-top celebration, after it's done you can say you appreciate their generosity, and know how excited they are to have a grandchild to buy stuff for, but because the holiday runs for eight days, in the future you want to do something more scaled back. And remember, if the grandparents insist on going over the top, you can always donate their largesse to families in need.
Q. Re: Graduation: Excellent advice. My daughters are similar in that my oldest took five years to graduate from college with a degree in history, but it took her two years to see if there was a problem. She was diagnosed with ADD at 19. Medication helped her tremendously. My younger daughter is graduating from high school this year, with gifted-program AP courses, and a future in the sciences. I never compare them. They are individuals. It's important the older child get tested. Even if there’s not an official diagnosis, they can help with time management, etc. LW, please continue on your path and don't let anyone tell you you don't measure up. You're doing great!
A: Thanks from a parent whose been there and knows how destructive it is to compare children. That's great that your older daughter got diagnosed. It's never too late to address underlying problems or get help creating new patterns.
Coughing Co-worker: My office has our cubicles within very close proximity to one another. Luckily, we all get along well for the most part, but one co-worker's health issues have been causing a big disruption. This co-worker is a bit older, smokes, and has a terrible cough that has been best described as a "phlegmy death rattle." It's been going on for several months and is only getting worse. I'm of course sympathetic to people who feel ill, but this sounds much more serious. It's disturbing, upsetting, and makes me feel nauseated. She doesn't seem to be taking care of herself or even acknowledging that it's an issue. Is there an appropriate way to intervene or ask her to seek treatment?
A: It's a little hard to go to a co-worker and say, "Have you been to a pulmonary specialist recently? I keep being surprised you show up each day considering that death rattle of yours." If someone has a cough that's rattling the concentration of everyone in the office, there may be nothing medically that can be done about it, but it is something that's fair to address. You and perhaps an ally can go to a supervisor and explain you're very concerned about the health of your co-worker. You can add that unfortunately her hacking is disruptive of everyone's concentration. You can say you hope the supervisor can address the health question with the colleague and also perhaps move the person to someplace more private that will muffle her cough.
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