Dear Ann Landers, I agree with the letter from "Montana," who said it is not OK for inquisitive children to ask personal questions of strangers with disabilities. This creates a very uncomfortable situation for the person being questioned, and also for the bystanders. People in wheelchairs or with other disabilities struggle valiantly to mainstream themselves into today's society, but they are reminded dozens of times every day that they are "different."
Would you allow a child to ask a stranger why he was 100 pounds overweight? Children's natural curiosity should be indulged at home, where all their questions can be answered. Otherwise, they need to learn the Ann Landers' maxim: MYOB. -- P.B., Des Moines, Iowa
Dear P.B., All young children have a natural curiosity. They don't know anything about MYOB. Most people who have come to terms with a visible handicap do not resent questions from young children. What they do resent, and rightfully so, are crude questions from vulgar, insensitive adults.
, ear P.B. Children should be taught at an early age not to ask strangers why they are fat/in a wheelchair/limping/or otherwise handicapped. Children's "natural curiosity" should be relegated to asking a parent these questions. A good way to avoid this kind of discomfort for a stranger is to bring up the subject of disabilities in a general way, to the degree a child can understand them, and then discuss how these things happen and how questioning such people is inappropriate and would make them feel bad. That could very easily lead to a discussion of the value of minding your own business (MYOB) in general. - Margo
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!
Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!
I disagree with Ann on this one. Yes, "children have a natural curiosity," but they also can be taught that it is rude to ask personal questions. Most children are pretty smart and will understand that. Kids are not dumb.
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Our Reader to Reader Question of the Week:
Dear Readers, , My x-girlfriend who lived with my son and I for 16 years died of cancer. Prior before we knew she had cancer-she moved out because of an addiction problem. We did stay very close before she died. Her x-husband an attorney took over her finances and the burial arrangements. I being financially set was okay with that, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.