DEAR ABBY: I am a full-time nanny for a family with two children, ages 7 and 9. The mother is wonderful, and so are the kids. But the father, who is absent due to work travel most of the time, teaches his children attitudes I strongly disagree with. It is not often I must interact with him, but when I have, he says hateful things about people who are gay, obese or poor.
The children have now begun to repeat these comments, pointing out large people when we are in public, or saying nasty things about the homeless we see as we drive. I try to combat this hatred by sharing words of love or acceptance.
The mom is mortified when I tell her the things her children have said. She doesn't share the same attitudes as her husband, but she works a lot and isn't around to discuss things like this with her kids in the moment.
I feel like part of the family because I spend so much time with the children. But I wonder if I am overstepping my boundaries by admonishing them for saying things their father has taught them to believe. Is it my place to teach the kids lessons about acceptance that are contrary to what he tells them? -- NANNY IN TAMPA
DEAR NANNY: The person to whom you should be addressing this question is the children's mother. Whether I think teaching the children compassion and tolerance is the right thing to do (which, by the way, I do) is not relevant. You should abide by her wishes because she is your employer.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 29-year-old female. I'm not married and have no kids. I've been dating a man who is 14 years older for two years now. He has no children.
We have talked about marriage and having children, but recently I found out he has no retirement savings. This scares me because I'm thinking about the future. If something were to happen to him and we were married, I'd be stuck with his debt.
I am at a loss. I don't want to be the snobby woman who kicks him when he's down and leaves him, but at the same time, I don't understand why he hasn't planned for retirement. Am I wrong for thinking this way? -- CONTEMPLATING MY FUTURE IN SANTA ROSA, CALIF.
DEAR CONTEMPLATING: If you don't understand your boyfriend's thinking on the subject of financial planning, continue discussing it with him until you do. He may not realize how important it is to plan, invest and save for the future. Many people older than he is are now having a rude awakening about how long they will need to continue working until they have enough of a nest egg to retire. In many cases, it takes the effort of both spouses to accomplish it -- if they can retire at all.
Please don't call yourself names. I wouldn't accuse you of being a "snob" because you're thinking rationally on the subject of finances. I call that being sensible.