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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My 13-year-old son plays on a local travel sports team. Many of his teammates could be considered lower class or lower middle class. We live in a luxurious home. We don't flaunt it, and we're not snobbish. All of the kids and the parents get along, and socioeconomic status plays no role in our interactions.

My son invited a few of his teammates over for a few hours, and from the expressions on their faces, it was clear they had never seen a home like ours. They behaved like perfect gentlemen and were a pleasure to have over.

My mother suggested that it would be better not to invite the boys over again because it isn't fair to them. Her concern is that it might make them feel bad because they have so much less than we do. While I understand her point of view, I also think it can be beneficial for them to see what the possibilities are in the world if you work hard and are successful. Perhaps it will inspire them to do better in school, go to college, etc.

Of course, the primary purpose for their coming over was just for friends to spend time together and have fun. What do you think of these potential unintended consequences? -- SPORTS DAD IN THE SOUTH

DEAR DAD: I disagree with your mother. If your son and his teammates enjoy being together in addition to the time they spend doing their sports, they should be allowed that pleasure. Your home might be the most logical place to host these gatherings simply because it is large enough to accommodate all of the boys. Because they come from a lower income level doesn't mean they can't forge meaningful -- and lasting -- friendships with your son.

Many successful individuals weren't born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouths. And many successful individuals did not attend college. They went to trade and tech schools and provide themselves and their families with very comfortable lifestyles.

DEAR ABBY: My daughter married a man last spring. One week after their honeymoon, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastasized colon cancer. After eight months of doctors, hospitals and chemo, he passed away.

They never had an opportunity to write thank-you notes for their wedding gifts. My daughter feels it is not appropriate now. I feel she should do it, saying something like, "Before my husband passed away, we enjoyed this gift very much." She said to ask you. What is your opinion? -- WONDERING IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR WONDERING: It is always appropriate to thank people for their kindness. Since you asked my opinion, I agree that your daughter should write short notes to the people who gave her wedding gifts and tell them she would have written sooner, but she is still grieving the loss of her husband. Then she should thank them for their generosity. The rules of etiquette do not require her to say more than that. When you discuss with her what I have written -- as I am sure you will -- please convey to her my deepest sympathy.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce | Death

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