DEAR ABBY: I found your response to the twins whose divorced father would not continue child support payments or pay for higher education to be factually accurate, but a bit narrow in its vision.
My wife left her home state 10 years ago for a much better job. After a child custody battle that almost bankrupted her, she was forced to leave her 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter with her ex-husband. Despite a court order, her son refused to fly up to see her after the first few visits and was rarely available when she flew there. Football, basketball, friends -- all held more importance than his mother. Despite her never missing a holiday gift, I can count on one hand the number of phone calls or thank-yous she has received. Care to guess how many times they forgot her birthday?
When it came time for him to choose a college, my wife offered to assist with tuition if he considered an Ivy League school or the school from which she and her former husband graduated. She was chastised for trying to "force" him to attend a college he did not wish to.
Perhaps the twins should examine how they treated their father while the child support was paid consistently every month. Sounds like Dad held up his end. Maybe they should examine whether theirs was held up equally well.
By the way, do you remember that classic letter you answered many years ago with, "How old will you be in four years if you don't?" Thanks to that answer, my wife graduated from medical school three years ago at the age of 42, and she hasn't regretted ANY of her decisions since she decided to get divorced. She's one smart lady, and I'm immensely proud of her. -- BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
DEAR BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: Please extend my belated congratulations to your wife. Your pride in her achievements is more than justified. It's sad that her son missed out on knowing his mother better, because she's a remarkably accomplished woman. He would have been enriched had the relationship been encouraged, and I don't mean monetarily.
DEAR ABBY: I fully agree with your response to the young man who felt his father should continue to pay child support while he and his twin brother were in college. If this "adult" was so concerned about his mother having to work two jobs so he could go to college, he should take responsibility for his own education.
Your suggestion to take fewer hours of classes and get a part-time job was excellent. May I offer another route? JOIN THE MILITARY. They're always hiring. Not only do you get excellent training and a paycheck, you can get up to $40,000 for college. Also, while you're on active duty, the service you choose will pay 75 percent of the tuition cost for every class you take.
I am in the Air Force and took advantage of the education benefits and went to night school. Through different programs, I was able to get a bachelor of science degree for less than $2,000 out of my own pocket. Plus, that young man's mother will be so proud to see her son in uniform doing something for himself instead of depending on her. -- PROUD TO SERVE, NAVARRE, FLA.
P.S. By the way, Abby, I am NOT a recruiter for the Air Force.
DEAR PROUD: You may not be an Air Force recruiter, but I'm willing to bet your letter will result in more than a few inquiries, if not enlistments. Thank you for the reminder that the armed forces offer educational benefits to their members.
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