Dear Barb—Leading by Example

Dear Barb:

Hi, I am a single mother of a ten-year-old daughter.  My daughter often has friends over for dinner and sleepovers and movie nights.  I have always taught my girl to have good manners when at home and at other people’s homes.  The problem I have is with my daughter’s friends.  The girls are so messy; they make sandwiches and leave the food out and never clean up after themselves.  A couple do not flush the toilet after using it.  I don’t want to embarrass my daughter or her friends, but I do think they should clean up after themselves.  Not sure if I should talk to my daughter, her friend, or her friend’s parents.  What is your advice? Thanks, Heather. 

Hi Heather:

Thanks for writing.  We don’t all raise our kids with the same manners, but when they are at someone else’s house they should follow the example presented.  For example, if your daughter cleans up after herself, then her friends should do the same thing.  I would begin by talking to your daughter; I believe her friends would be more receptive to taking her advice, or following her lead.  You have to let your daughter know that she is responsible for her friend’s behaviour while they are visiting.  Therefore, if they do not clean up after themselves, she will have to do it.  Say it in a friendly way, so she won’t feel embarrassed.  I would not suggest going to the parents, as I’m sure they will get their back up, then there will be problems between the girls.  But I don’t feel things will get to where you have to talk to the parents.  Good luck, Heather.

Dear Barb:

With the cold weather, there are a lot of people on the street wrapped in blankets begging for money.  I always give them something, but I noticed a lot of people walk by.  Some of my friends say I shouldn’t give them money, because they just spend it on drugs or alcohol.  That bothers me when they say that because they don’t know that for sure.  They tell me that if I want to donate I should give to a shelter or mission, that way the money will be spent the way it should be.  They may be right, but I have to follow my heart.  What is your opinion am I doing the wrong thing by giving to the homeless on the street? Thanks, Dan.

Hey Dan:

Following your heart can never be wrong.  Often these people are so mentally ill or beaten down that they won’t go to a mission or shelter.  They just want to be able to buy a hamburger or something to put in their bellies.  I do not believe anyone would choose this way of life given a choice.  There may be some scammers out there, but they are in the minority.  You are helping out a person who needs it, and remember many of us are one paycheque away from being homeless.  So don’t listen to your friends, listen to your heart.  Thanks for doing the right thing.

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