DEAR ABBY: Our daughter "Melanie" is finishing her master's degree in social work. She's excited about pursuing her future career; however, when we tell our friends about her, we get disappointing -- and sometimes, hurtful -- responses. Some samples: "Whose idea was that?!" "You know she's going to starve, don't you?" "Oh ... they don't make much money," and, "I'm sorry!" These comments come from people with whom we've had warm relationships for years.
We know our daughter won't be rich. That's not her objective. We're proud of Melanie's choice and how hard she has prepared. We think she'll be a wonderful social worker. We have always been supportive of our friends' children and their choices. Is there a way to respond to these people without being rude? -- PROUD PARENTS IN DES MOINES
DEAR PROUD PARENTS: You should be proud. You have raised a daughter who will make an important contribution to the lives of those she touches. When someone makes a thoughtless comment such as the ones you mentioned, tell them what you wrote to me: "We're proud of our daughter's choice and how hard she has worked to prepare. We know she'll be a wonderful social worker." Period.