DEAR MISS MANNERS: I had an excellent time at a two-week French language camp, and after I got home, I started making plans to go back next summer. I told my dad that I wanted to go to a four-week session because some friends and I had made plans to meet there and we thought four weeks would be twice as much fun.
So, my dad asked how much it cost, and after checking on the Web site, I told him it cost around $2,100. He then told me that I could go, but would have to pay for about $500 of it myself.
I'll be 15-1/2 next summer. I don't think I should have to help cover the cost because I'm not old enough to work at most jobs, and besides, the session is for credit, so it could count as an educational expense. My dad's point of view is that I should have the experience of earning something myself. But I would be earning the credit, wouldn't I?
The counselors and kids who go say it's as hard as school, and I shouldn't have to pay money so that I can go to school during the summer. Most parents would be glad to have a child who would willingly do anything half as challenging during the summer. But I want to because I'll be with my friends, and the credit will help me later. We're wondering who's right.
GENTLE READER: Thank you for your faith that Miss Manners would overrule your father's judgment in the interests of education and justice. It was misplaced.
As your father knows, financial responsibility is as necessary for your education as French. Miss Manners has already identified a problem that you have in this area -- the erroneous, but nevertheless popular, notion that one should be able to direct one's father or anyone else on how to spend his money. She wishes you a pleasant summer learning not only that, but how delightful it is to have one's very own money to spend.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: When my husband spent five weeks in the hospital, four of them in ICU -- an emotionally draining experience for the family -- we received approximately 140 get-well cards from family, friends and colleagues. Several people also sent flowers.
My husband has been on the phone almost non-stop since he came home early this month. He believes connecting with old friends and colleagues is helping him to heal.
Is it proper to write a thank-you note to each of the wonderful people? He has verbally thanked the people who sent the flowers but has not been able to get to all of the 140 card-senders. I told him that it is not necessary for a get-well card.
GENTLE READER: It is true that greeting cards are like vacation post cards in that you need only register the fact that someone has been thinking of you and respond in kind if the situation is reversed.
But Miss Manners notes that these cards have done a particularly good job; sociability seems to be assisting your husband's recovery. So, when you reassure him that he need not respond, would you be so good as to compile a list of the senders? If his recovery is quick, he can thank them when he sees them, and if it is long, he may be glad to know who would be pleased to hear from him.