DEAR HARRIETTE: I just got fired, and I don't know how to take it. My boss was very kind when she fired me. She explained what we had talked about before, and I understand why she let me go. She even made suggestions about how I can improve in areas that she thinks would be important for me in my life. I appreciate what she said, but it doesn't change the fact that it sucks. How am I supposed to move on? I never imagined I would get fired. Do you think I should stay in touch with my former boss? She offered. But I am confused. -- Still Stinging, New York City
DEAR STILL STINGING: It sounds like your ex-boss was mindful and specific in handling your firing. I suggest you review exactly what she shared with you. Pay attention to the areas she thought needed improvement. Focus on building your skills. Clarify what you believe you are good at as you look for work.
Consider it a blessing that she offered to stay in touch. By all means send her a thank-you note for her wisdom. And keep her updated as you build your life.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I read the letter from Mom in Shock this morning. I feel for her, because I am raising three daughters, and I want them to learn to be kind to everyone. One of the tools that I have used is a children's chapter book called "The Hundred Dresses," by Eleanor Estes. I think this book should be required reading for girls. It is a powerful story about looking down on others, bullying (especially the not-so-overt variety) and standing aside while others are teased. All moms and daughters can benefit from reading this book together and discussing the important lessons it illustrates. -- Another Mom of Girls, Washington, D.C.
DEAR ANOTHER MOM OF GIRLS: Thank you for your recommendation. Interestingly, I think the good news in the land of bullying is that it is far more out in the open now than in years past. Awareness is high. Parents and teachers are paying closer attention to children's behavior and responding with greater tools, at least in many cases. Like the book you recommended, there are programs that are being offered in schools across the country to let children know how to behave as allies, what bullying looks like, how to not be a bystander and how to engage when the moment calls for it.
In addition to the book you have so kindly suggested, I recommend that parents check in with their children's schools to see what programs are available there. If nothing is currently being offered, lobby for that support. Meanwhile, remain vigilant at home. Do not let the little things pass when your children treat others poorly. Point out what they did that was unkind. Teach them how to apologize and correct their mistakes. Consistent reinforcement is what teaches children how to be kind.