DEAR HARRIETTE: My son has become involved in the student government at his school. As political topics have come up on campus, conversations have gotten heated, and my son has taken a stand. I am proud of him, but I’m also concerned. He is up for a scholarship for college, and I worry that if he becomes too politically vocal, he could lose this important money that can help him go to college. Should I encourage him to tone down his comments so that he can look ahead to the future? -- On the Line, Atlanta
DEAR ON THE LINE: You should encourage your son to be himself and to stand up for what he believes to be true and fair. Since he has felt the urge to be a leader in his school, allow him to be just that. We need more people who are willing to stand up for others. Can that lose him a scholarship? I would say it could lose him a scholarship to a school that isn’t a match for him.
Look more broadly at colleges and universities. Search for those that welcome his brand of social awareness and outspokenness. Rather than attempting to suppress his growing voice, help him find the right center of higher education to further cultivate his mind.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I was out having lunch with my family at an outdoor cafe when a guy I dated once more than 20 years ago rode his bike up and said hello. We chatted for a moment and my family said hello, but I didn’t even remember his name so I didn’t introduce him. Before he left, he told my husband that he had almost become my husband. What a joke! To my recollection, I went out with him once and maybe talked on the phone with him a few times. How he fixed it in his mind that we were about to walk down the aisle is a mystery to me. It did rattle my husband a little, especially since I had never mentioned this guy before. How can I make my husband know this is nothing, and what should I do if I ever run into this guy again? -- Confused, Dallas
DEAR CONFUSED: For your husband, be upfront about this guy. You barely remember him. You did not recall his name. You remember going out with him only once. You are surprised that he is so fixated on you. Be open and honest. Tell him you can’t think of any reason why this guy would be under the impression that you and he were even a couple, let alone getting married.
For the guy, if you ever encounter him again, ask him why he thinks you were going to get married. Listen to what he says. Respond to him honestly -- namely what you do and do not remember. Conclude by letting him know that you are sorry if there was ever any confusion, but you never intended to marry him, you are happily married and you would appreciate it if he would back off.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)