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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.

DEAR ABBY: I just read in a local newspaper that a clergyman urges a ban on babies attending church. After what happened at our church last Sunday, I have to agree with him.

Today, parents dress up their kids real cute and take them to church to show them off, but they don't discipline them.

One little girl about 18 months old did everything but swing from the chandelier, and all her mother did was "shush" her by putting her fingers to her lips. Her brother (about 8) kept stirring her up by poking her, and the mother just gave him a few dirty looks.

Another child sitting behind me kept trying to grab my earrings. When I turned around and glared, her mother just smiled. At one point, when announcements were made over the loudspeaker, there was so much commotion from kids yelling that no one could hear the announcements.

The minister was disgusted, but he didn't have the courage to say anything. He should have told the mothers of those unruly children to take them to the bathroom and give them a good learning experience!

What do you think? I am ... HOPPING MAD IN POCATELLO, IDAHO

DEAR HOPPING: I think you're right. Parents who love their children discipline them. And contrary to common belief, "to discipline" does not mean "to punish." It means "to teach."

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