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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: We have been invited to my foster parents' home for a celebration that includes a meal of venison. My wife and young children do not like that kind of food. The host asked for help with the veggies and desserts. We obliged, and told him that we would also bring pizza for the kids, who are 2, 6 and 9 years old. (They know from past experience that the kids won't eat venison.)

My foster parents objected to this -- they feel that everyone should eat what's put in front of them. Most of their meals are what one would call "eccentric." It will be mealtime when we arrive, and we don't want to starve the kids. Are we out of line, or should they be more accommodating to the palates of their guests? -- PARENT IN LOWELL, MASS.

DEAR PARENT: You are not out of line; you are realistic. Your foster parents are the ones with the problem -– their rigidity.

That old philosophy that children should eat what's put in front of them regardless of whether it's palatable went out of fashion decades ago. It is now understood that children are PEOPLE with individual tastes, and food should not be forced upon them. If your foster parents can't grasp the concept, feed the kids before you go to their house. And keep family dinners at their place to a minimum until your children are old enough to appreciate their "eccentric" taste in food.

P.S. You wife is old enough to deal with this in her own way.

DEAR ABBY: I discovered this list on the last page of the 1999 Old Farmer's Almanac. I hope you think it is worth printing.

I was surprised that the "Golden Rule" is found in every faith. -– DOING MY BEST IN BLOOMINGTON

DEAR DOING: I, too, was surprised. Finally! There is something upon which we all agree. Read on:

BRAHMANISM: This is the sum of duty: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you. (Mahabharata 5:1517)

BUDDHISM: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. (Udana-Varga 5:18)

CONFUCIANISM: Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness: Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you. (Analects 15:23)

TAOISM: Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain and your neighbor's loss as your own loss. (T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien)

ZOROASTRIANISM: That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself. (Dadistan-I-dinik 94:5)

JUDAISM: What is hateful to you, do not to your fellowman. That is the entire law; all the rest is commentary. (Talmud, Shabbat 31a)

CHRISTIANITY: All things whatsoever ye would that man should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

ISLAM: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. (Sunnah)

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