DEAR ABBY: Wouldn't it make sense if grade school teachers set aside time, weekly or monthly, to go over some very generic information that kids need to learn? I'm talking about things like how important it is to have pets neutered and why, how to manage money, and show them what the average dad earns and what it costs to run a household and support a family. It might help kids to grow up understanding that money isn't free and get them past the "gimmes."
There are so many topics that ought to be introduced to youngsters at an early age -- how to groom themselves properly, be exposed to a variety of music genres, teach them how grandparents can use help even from small children. They could be taught to be aware of their surroundings, to realize that foul language isn't an attribute and why it's important to be pleasant.
There are so many topics. Ten minutes a week on different topics would suffice. Why not? -- CHAPLIN, CONN., READER
DEAR READER: Why not? Because teachers are so overwhelmed trying to get their students to learn enough basic curriculum to pass the state mandated tests that they don't have time!
Reading your letter I couldn't help but wonder whose children you are describing. All of the topics you mentioned are things children should learn from their parents. Where are those parents? AWOL?
DEAR ABBY: I have just started back into the dating scene after my divorce and being single for five years. I had a vasectomy when I was married, and I'm wondering at what point I should tell prospective dates this information. -- SNIPPED IN ONTARIO, CANADA
DEAR SNIPPED: Raise the subject as soon as a woman mentions the idea of wanting children. It should certainly be discussed before you have sex.
P.S. Because vasectomies have been known to fail, and won't prevent someone from picking up an STD, you should always make sure you and your partner are protected by using a condom.
DEAR ABBY: Several years ago we bought a used sofa at a garage sale. It is now falling apart. A friend of mine in the hotel business offered me an almost new sofa bed from a room that was being redecorated. It matches the colors in our game room perfectly. My wife said, "You can't bring hotel furniture into the house. Yuck!"
My logic is this: Why can't our kids sleep on a hotel bed in our house if our other houseguests are using the kids' rooms? We would use our clean sheets, and they sleep on the sofa beds in the hotels we stay in. My wife will sleep in a hotel bed that 100 percent of the guests sleep in, but she doesn't want a bug-free sofa bed that about 5 percent of hotel guests have used in our home for occasional use. Am I cheap, or am I married to a clean freak? -- WHO'S BEEN SLEEPING IN MY BED?
DEAR WHO'S BEEN SLEEPING: Not knowing you better, I can't say whether or not you're cheap. But your wife should know that many people buy used hotel furniture, and selling it is big business. The sofa bed could be cleaned and sanitized and the mattress replaced. (Inquire about it at any furniture store that sells sofa beds.) But don't push your wife into taking it or the person who winds up sleeping on it could be you.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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