DEAR HARRIETTE: My nephew struggled to complete high school, really finding himself in a mess in his last year. His parents were so upset with his behavior that they were constantly at their wits' ends. Both parents developed health challenges as a result of it. They are hoping that their son will go into the military, as that will allow him to be gainfully employed and cultivate discipline. The thing is, he doesn't want to go. I'm afraid that if he stays at home without a plan or a job, his parents will not be able to manage. They have asked me to speak to him to try to convince him to go. What can I say? -- Wayward Nephew, Detroit
DEAR WAYWARD NEPHEW: Since your family has given you permission to speak to their son, go for it. Start by congratulating him on graduating high school. Ask him what he plans to do afterward. Listen to see if he has a plan. Know that he may decide to go into the military, even though he has not said as much to his parents. He may also have another idea. If he has no plan, that's when you can encourage him to go into the military, as his parents have suggested. You can further let him know that his parents do not plan to support him if he does not show some initiative.