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by Abigail Van Buren

Debate on College Degree Pits Mother Against Son

DEAR ABBY: Our middle son, Andy, is a very intelligent young man of 19. He went to college for one year just to please us, then he quit, saying, "I don't want to waste any more of my time and your money."

His grades were fine, but he says he prefers working with his hands. He's now enrolled in a trade school and we're so disappointed in him!

I'm not putting down people who work with their hands, Abby, but it seems to me that people who work with their hands do so because they aren't smart enough to work with their minds.

Andy's father is a professional man, and both of Andy's brothers plan to enter professions.

Please say in your column that a college degree is absolutely necessary these days. After Andy graduates from college he can do anything he chooses, but we desperately want him to have a college degree first. -- ANDY'S MOTHER

DEAR MOTHER: I disagree. College is NOT for everybody. If Andy prefers to work with his hands, that's what he should do.

It's not true that people work with their hands because they aren't smart enough to work with their minds. Some handwork requires more skill, talent and know-how than many professions. You do your son a tremendous disservice by telling him he's "disappointed you" and urging him to go to college. Change your tune.