DEAR ABBY: "Melissa in Sacramento" wrote that an 11-year-old was not articulate enough to have written the letter you published about his happiness as an adopted son of two fathers.
Her letter was an insult to the many children who are capable of achieving beyond the low expectations of many adults.
When my 15-year-old son was 11, his vocabulary, reading, writing and analytical skills tested out at college sophomore levels. This past school year, he took several college courses and aced them all. My son is no genius, but we care enough about his education to put it first.
None of our children fail to keep up with their homework. We read to them every night until they were at least 12 years old. We still insist that they read every day. We limit television to three hours a week, while providing them with access to bookstores and libraries.
If more parents insisted on high standards in the schools and by teachers, and maintained those same standards at home, more children would be as articulate as that 11-year-old boy. -- PENNY IN VIRGINIA
DEAR PENNY: I agree that some students far exceed the norm, as your children do. And the ones who do have parents who are actively involved in their schooling, which reinforces the importance of education.
"Melissa in Sacramento's" letter stimulated some strong responses from people who took exception. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: When I read the letter signed "Melissa in Sacramento," I was furious. Perhaps in Sacramento an 11-year-old student could not have written as well as the boy who expressed his happiness at being the adopted son of two fathers. However, my 11-year-old sister is capable of writing such a letter, as are many other children of that age whom I know.
I also was taken aback that Melissa called the boy's letter "whiny." If any letter was whiny, it was hers!
I applaud any two loving parents, heterosexual or homosexual, who teach their child the loving, caring, open-minded values this world needs to survive. Melissa could learn a lesson or two from "Happily Adopted in Orlando, Fla." and his parents.
I wonder if Melissa is struggling with her own homophobia. Her letter appeared to reflect the anti-gay movement sweeping our country. I hope she has not taught those hurtful, narrow-minded, prejudiced values to the fifth- and sixth-grade students with whom she works. -- STRAIGHT BUT NOT NARROW IN COLORADO
DEAR STRAIGHT: So do I. When we finally learn to accept diversity and be less judgmental when dealing with others, ours will be a much more unified country.