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by Abigail Van Buren

Parent May Pay for Tuition, but Son Pays Way to Prom

DEAR ABBY: The letter from "No Money Machine" -- the parent who is cutting corners in order to send her son to the high school prom -- prompts this letter.

Abby, going to a senior prom is a privilege -- not a God-given right. I came from from a large family, and our education (12 years of Catholic school) was paid for by our parents, but we had to earn our own money for all the "perks" such as yearbooks, class rings and proms.

I have raised my son the same way. At 16, he's already had a semi-formal under his belt. He asked if he could have his Christmas gift of money in advance so he could pay $35 for tickets, $15 for a corsage and $10 for a secondhand tux.

If he wants to continue at the Catholic school he attends, he will have to get a summer job to help with the $1,300 tuition. His class ring will be bought with money he saves from his allowance.

Abby, as you've often said, "GIVE a man a fish and he can eat for a day. TEACH him to fish and he can eat forever."

The best gift some people can give their kids is a kick in the rear to the job market. -- NO MONEY MACHINE EITHER

DEAR NO MONEY MACHINE: You could teach a class in child development. Thanks for writing.