Dear Dr. Wallace:
I’d like to take ballet lessons. My dad says I can do so, but I’ve got to earn the money to pay for them. I’m in the eighth grade and spend a lot of time studying. Finding a part-time job to earn enough to pay for lessons would be next to impossible.
My mother thinks it’s a parent’s responsibility to pay for this kind of thing if they can afford it, and my family can. My dad is a dentist and makes good money. We live in a nice house and both of my parents drive expensive cars. My best friend is taking ballet lessons and her parents are paying for them — and they have a lot less money than we do.
My dad says he’s trying to teach me the value of money. My mom is saying he’s just tight with his money because his family didn’t have a lot when he was young and living in Poland. If you agree with my mother and me, my father might change his mind when I show your answer to him.
Sioux City, S.D.
Dear Nameless: I agree 100 percent with you and your mom. Your parents should pay for ballet lessons — gladly!
Dear Dr. Wallace: Should a parent who pays a babysitter a fair wage ($4 an hour for two well-behaved children) be expected also to supply snacks for the sitter? I’m employed, receive a fair wage ($16 an hour), but my employer doesn’t supply me any snacks and isn’t expected to.
My babysitter is very good, but she was a bit upset when I told her not to eat any of my food and to bring her own if she wanted any. I discussed this with my co-worker, who said I should furnish snacks and got very upset because I wasn’t. It seems her two daughters are babysitters.
Who is this “person” who lays down the law that parents must provide snacks for sitters? I’d have a few choice words for her or him if we ever met.
South Bend, Ind.
Dear Mom: There is no “person” and there is no law, but the great, great majority of wise parents do provide snacks for their babysitters. I’d advise you to join the crowd.
Dear Dr. Wallace: In a recent column, you said that one of the prime reasons you are against girls playing on boys’ sports teams is because boys are bigger and stronger, run faster, and jump higher. Where did you conjure up the concept that boys are better athletically than girls?
Well, it’s obvious that you haven’t seen my third-grade class. When it comes to physical education, my third-grade girls almost always beat my boys when it comes to athletic competition.
If you’d care to come visit us in South Carolina, you would see for yourself!
Dear Teacher: I don’t need to travel to South Carolina to have your class convince me that third-grade girls can outperform the boys in athletic competition. That happens everywhere, because the boys don’t start to dominate athletically until about age 10. From then on, the dominance increases rapidly. P.S.: I have been to your lovely state several times and enjoyed it immensely!
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