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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: In a recent column, one of your readers recommended that schools add anger management classes to the curriculum. I am a schoolteacher, and I don't know how we're going to fit any more into our curriculum and do it effectively.

We teach drug awareness, tobacco awareness, AIDS education, kids voting, helmet safety and stranger danger, to name a few. Oh, yes -- we also teach reading, writing, math, language, social studies, science, health, music, art and physical education.

Why does our society expect schools to teach it all? Whatever happened to parenting? Parents should be taking the classes on how to be parents. Perhaps that would leave the "school" subjects to the teachers. -- PHOENIX EDUCATOR

DEAR EDUCATOR: I agree that it's unfair to demand that schools teach children that which should be taught at home by the parents. However, the majority of families these days have two working parents, and consequently many children are virtually raising themselves.

The task of parenting is more difficult when the parent is gone the majority of the time -- but it's not impossible. The best things parents can give their children are time and undivided attention. They should listen to their children with a discerning ear. It takes patience, setting a good example, organizing one's priorities and choosing one's battles. For parents who feel that knack is beyond them, many books have been written on the subject.

DEAR ABBY: I have been in a relationship with a man for four years now. Two years ago he asked me to marry him, but he still hasn't set a date or given me a ring.

Whenever I bring up the subject, he gets angry and says, "When the time is right." Well, in my book, don't you normally wait to pop the question until the time is right and then offer the ring as a symbol of love and commitment?

He is 42 years old, has never been married and still lives at home with his mother. He says he could never leave her alone. His mother -- a wonderful woman whom I love dearly -- is 75 years old, but remains very active and still works 35 hours a week. She says he has never helped her financially, although he makes a decent living.

I'm beginning to grow weary of waiting for "the right time." What do you think of this situation? -- THE WIFE-IN-WAITING

DEAR WAITING: He has told you directly that he could never leave his mother. She's in excellent health and, from your description, is vigorous -- so you could be "waiting" for this man to get off the dime for a very long time. Let me go on record: Waiting for someone to die is the longest wait in the world.

If it's marriage you want, it's time to move on and find an eligible man. This one's already taken.

DEAR ABBY: Please answer this for me. Is it all right to visit relatives or friends without calling first? I say it's rude, and my husband says there is nothing wrong with it. He thinks people will just be surprised. -- EMBARRASSED IN TEXAS

DEAR EMBARRASSED: I recommend always calling to ask if it's convenient to visit.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600