DEAR ABBY: Our neighbor's son, "Donny," has become a regular fixture in our home. His parents divorced years ago, and his father is terminally ill.
Donny has "adopted" me as a father figure. We have spent a great deal of time together. Not having a son -- I have daughters -- I admit that being with him is a novelty.
My wife, on the other hand, feels no one should "infiltrate" her family. There are few boys in our neighborhood, and Donny isn't old enough to venture to other streets in search of playmates. I can't bring myself to turn him away knowing how lonely he is and how difficult his life will become. I worry that he's a prime candidate for a predator, or that he could start drinking or smoking at an early age. I'd rather have him in our house where I know he's safe.
My wife says we can't save everyone, and I know that. But when I hear about the bad things that happen to kids on the news, it makes me wonder where was someone who could have helped them.
How can I get my wife to see this is a chance to make a difference in this boy's life, and that he's no threat to our family unit? -- FRIEND OF A LONELY CHILD
DEAR FRIEND: Your wife appears to be responding to Donny on an emotional rather than a rational level. Because she didn't "produce" a son, she views the time or emotional nourishment that you give Donny as something being taken away from her daughters. That's sad.
It's possible that a religious adviser could help her to view this differently, but if she can't find sympathy in her heart for the boy, then I recommend you talk to Donny's mother about finding a Big Brother for him, through her religious denomination.