DEAR AMY: My husband and I are parents to three college-age children. All three are good students that attend flagship state universities. Of course, as parents, we think they are great and well-rounded young adults. They have never given us a lick of trouble and have no trouble speaking and holding conversations with other adults, teachers, bosses, etc. We own our own home and drive old cars, but still struggle to pay our kids’ tuition. We have saved money since our children were small to help defray their university costs, but even with the kids each taking $5,000 per year in loans it is still a struggle. My in-laws have always recognized birthdays and Christmas with modest gifts, and they always compliment us on how we raised them. That’s the problem! We recently became aware that the in-laws have already given tens of thousands of dollars to a local junior college foundation! We are hurt terribly by this, as it seems to us that they would rather give to kids they don’t even know, than support their own grandkids’ educations. (They also give to multiple animal charities). They are in their early-80s, and, although they seem to be relatively sane, we think they are being taken advantage of. Without coming across as greedy, how could we approach this?
DEAR WONDERING: Inquiring about this isn’t greedy. Judging your in-laws’ financial decisions does make you sound greedy, however.
You and your spouse could approach the in-laws with a proposition: Perhaps they would be willing to invest in your kids’ educations by offering these students no-interest loans, so that they could complete their educations without owing money (and interest) to an outside entity.
Upon completing their educations, the grandchildren could repay the loans directly to their grandparents, or (if the grandparents chose) directly into a charity the grandparents’ chose.
Approach this with the very clear understanding that they have the right to make any financial decision they choose to make — even if you don’t like it. Investing in the educational future of deserving local students seems like a wise and generous choice for them to make. If you could put your children in this category, they might be willing to expand their investment.
DEAR AMY: I could use advice in helping my 6-year-old with attention-seeking. An example: After dance class, my daughter walked up to her teacher. The teacher skipped over her and disregarded her in order to talk to another student’s mother. After a while, I asked my daughter if she wanted to leave. She said no. We waited in the lobby. The teacher walked right past us and left! My girl said, “But I waited patiently!” I was crushed for her! She just wanted to tell her teacher a joke, but the teacher didn’t care! I’m torn between anger at the teacher and wondering how to better teach social cues to my daughter. What do you suggest?
DEAR MOM: Your daughter did everything right: She had something to share and she waited patiently for her opportunity. But the opportunity didn’t present itself.
But please don’t blame the teacher for missing her own teacher-cues during this particular encounter. Sometimes teachers are swamped after class and simply don’t continue to focus their attention onto the little ones (although they should).
This should not be a crushing blow for either of you, but more of a “Dang! That’s frustrating!” situation. You could ask your daughter to strategize about how she can get her teacher’s attention before or after the next class in order to share her joke. She might want to write it down and put it in an envelope to give to her instructor. She could also get there a little early and say, “Excuse me, can I tell you a short joke?” while the other students are changing their shoes.
Your daughter deserves eye contact, a moment of undistracted attention and an appreciative smile from her teacher. I hope she gets it.
DEAR AMY: Thank you for your response to “Concerned Dad,” the man who didn’t want his brother-in-law to bring his gun into the dad’s household. I assume you’ve caught a lot of heat for being so passionately anti-gun, but I appreciated it.
Another Concerned Dad
DEAR DAD: Yes — I am completely anti-gun when it comes to young children, because research clearly shows that kids are at great risk around firearms.
And because I believe in a person’s individual rights and freedom, this includes their right not to have guns brought into their household.