Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole


DEAR HARRIETTE: I just saw on Facebook that one of my longtime friends is getting married. She looks so pretty and sounds so excited in her message.

I want to congratulate her, but I don't want to make her feel bad if she isn't planning on inviting me to her wedding. Obviously, I would like to be invited. But I understand how expensive weddings can be and do not have any expectations about going.

How do I congratulate her without asking? I really am not trying to push her one way or the other. -- Well-Wisher, Washington, D.C.

DEAR WELL-WISHER: Be authentically happy for your friend. Give her a call and congratulate her. Invite her to lunch or out for drinks to get caught up and to celebrate her engagement. The point is to acknowledge her good news with an independent invitation that is not attached to a party or the actual wedding.

If she agrees, treat her to the outing and listen to her stories. Most brides-to-be are filled with anecdotes about how the couple met and the upcoming nuptials, news about their families and more.

Be sure to catch her up on your life as well. Be a friend -- without attachments. She will appreciate that you are present and asking nothing of her.

Tell her that you love her and want the best for her. Make it clear that you are not asking for an invitation. You are simply offering her your love.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I finally have time to respond to the mother who is distraught because a rude teacher hurt her child's feelings. I am shocked at this. There is absolutely no excuse for any teacher to be rude to any student -- or to anyone else, for that matter. I call that bullying.

I never, ever even had to raise my voice! Empowering students is more work than being a bully.

It sounds like this teacher has gotten away with this, and as you age, a bad habit becomes worse. This is abuse. She should be fired immediately. -- Old School, Vassar, Mich.

DEAR OLD SCHOOL: I couldn't agree with you more that the administration needs to evaluate this teacher's behavior and decide what disciplinary action will be taken. 

I believe the role of a teacher is at least twofold. Of course the teacher is charged with teaching the students a variety of content. At my daughter's school, they go one step further and pronounce that the teachers should inspire students to become lovers of learning.

Additionally, I believe a teacher's responsibility is to empower students to be confident individuals who believe they can learn, grow and prosper. Bullying does the opposite, because it erodes self-confidence and stymies growth.

It is up to parents to stand up to any teacher who is mean, condescending or otherwise bullying any student in the classroom. That may mean speaking directly to the teacher and/or the principal.