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by Abigail Van Buren

A Career in Law Enforcement Is Likely To Upset Former Cop

DEAR ABBY: How should I tell my father that I have chosen a career he never wanted me to consider? I plan to become a police officer. Abby, all my life I have felt the call to help people. I know a career in law enforcement brings with it the possibility of danger, especially in today's climate. But I have always known I would be the person running toward danger while everyone else is running away from it. I am passionate about this, and my wife fully supports it.

The issue is, my father was a police officer. He hated every minute of it. He has always said he never wanted me to take that path. I understand all he wants is to keep me safe. At the same time, I don't want to miss out on this career. I don't want to spend the rest of my life regretting that I didn't follow my heart and do something I know I would have success with. Should I go through with the testing and, if I am selected, tell him then? Please help, because this is keeping me up at night. -- FOLLOWING MY HEART

DEAR FOLLOWING: Your father loves you, but he cannot -- and should not -- dictate how you live your life. A career in law enforcement is not for everyone for the reason you mentioned. It would have been helpful if you had explained exactly what it was about policing that made him hate it, assuming that he told you.

When he finds out, expect him to be very upset and possibly angry about your choice. But I see no reason why you should upset him before finding out if you qualify for a job in law enforcement. If you do pass the exams, give him the news then.