DEAR ABBY: I'm a junior in high school. My father has been unemployed for almost two years. My mom is deceased, and Dad constantly mentions how the money is running short. However, he hasn't gotten a new job nor has he explained why. I think it is a bit out of line to tell him to get his life back in order, since I'm his son and because I don't know much about the workplace.
I'm going to college next year, and I'm afraid that I won't be able to go somewhere good because my dad can't afford it. I'm sure other relatives will help out, and there's financial aid, but my dad's happiness matters, too. He has told me that the jobs he finds don't pay nearly as much as his previous job did, but wouldn't ANY money be better than NO money?
I don't understand what he's thinking. What should I say to him? How can I help him get his life back in order? -- CONFUSED IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR CONFUSED: You would be doing your father a favor to tell him that because of his difficulties in finding work, he should contact the unemployment office because the people there can sometimes offer counseling to people in his position. Your father may be holding out, hoping to find another job that will pay him as much as the last one. However, by now he should have realized that it may never happen.
You would be doing yourself a big favor to visit your local library and start researching what scholarships might be available to you. It could make you less beholden and more independent of your relatives when tuition time rolls around. A counselor at your school might also steer you in the right direction. Please don't wait. Do it now. You seem like a bright young man, and I wish you the best of luck.