DEAR HARRIETTE: I live in a rural area, and my family is composed of avid hunters -- except for me. My teenage daughter has just gotten a job in the nearest town, 30 minutes away. She mentioned to me that she told her boss about how my entire family owns many guns and that we cannot wait for deer season. Her boss apparently was uncomfortable with the conversation and steered it away from guns. When my daughter told me, she laughed and said her boss must be from a family of "city folk." This is a term my husband uses for anyone who does not feel the same way about guns, and now my daughter has adopted the phrase. I did not know what to tell my daughter about how to react to her boss, so I told her to not be as vocal about her hobbies. I do not want to feel ashamed and embarrassed about what my husband and kids do. I also do not want to be judged because of their actions. Was I wrong to tell my daughter to not talk about guns at work? It is a very normal part of her life, so I'm not sure she understands why others would be put off. -- No Gun Talk, Minneapolis
DEAR NO GUN TALK: Gun ownership and usage is a volatile topic these days. Generally, people take sides, either vehemently being for the right to bear arms for everyone, including the right to use guns for hunting, or the desire to limit who should be able to own a gun. You may recall that recently an American dentist who is a big-game hunter shot and killed a beloved lion in Africa. He was internationally maligned, and the backlash affected his personal life and his career.
Your family is operating on a much smaller scale, but this is still a prickly time. I think it's wise for your daughter to keep her hunting hobby to herself. This doesn't mean that she should lie about it. More, she should focus her conversations at work on work-related topics.