DEAR ABBY: Although your column is often a trouble-dump, may I share some good news? Our son was a troubled teen with behavioral problems. He dropped out of school and hung out with a very rough crowd. We tried everything we could to steer him in the right direction; nothing worked -- until we found Job Corps. We were thrilled to find an alternative to a boot-camp program. After a rocky start, our son is now succeeding. He is learning to be a welder and is close to getting his high school diploma.
The Job Corps is run by the U.S. Department of Labor and provides education and training for qualified youth, ages 16 through 24. Our son lives in a dorm supervised by counselors. He rises at 5:45 a.m. (a huge adjustment!). He has a structured day -- performing chores, attending academic and job-training classes, and afterward playing basketball or seeing a movie.
Abby, please inform other parents and young adults about the Job Corps. It has been a godsend for our son, and for us. -- PROUD PARENTS IN COLORADO
DEAR PROUD PARENTS: Thousands of young men and women have benefited from Job Corps. I urge anyone interested in Job Corps to call 1-800-733-5627 and speak to a counselor.
Students in Job Corps live and learn in a safe environment -- with "zero tolerance" for violence and drugs.
DEAR ABBY: You replied to a funeral director: "The answer lies in being informed consumers, facing the fact of our mortality, and perhaps taking care of the details before the need arises. An important part of that process is being open with one's family about what one's wishes are, and what arrangements have been made."
Well, Abby, I am a realist and have faced the fact of my mortality. I have a will, a durable power of attorney for health-care decisions, and a general power of attorney in case I become mentally impaired.
I have designated my only child, a daughter, to carry out these decisions. When I try to talk to her about my affairs after my death, she says she just can't talk to me about such things. She is very squeamish about the whole subject. She is married to a lawyer, and they don't even have a will. Trying to tell my family my wishes hasn't seemed to work. Do you have another suggestion for me? -- FRESNO, CALIF.
DEAR FRESNO: Yes. Face it, you can't count on your daughter to carry out your wishes. Consider appointing your attorney as your executor, make sure your doctors are aware of your health-care decisions, and find someone else -- a close friend, perhaps -- to name in your power of attorney documents. Your daughter is too emotional to be up to the task you've assigned her.
DEAR ABBY: I was recently trying to decide why my parents and in-laws seemed younger than some of my contemporaries, and then I realized: "You know you're getting older when you spend more time talking about what you did than what you're going to do." -- ROLF BOLSTAD, MINNEAPOLIS
DEAR ROLF: I agree. You're less likely to stumble if you're facing forward, not looking back over your shoulder.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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