DEAR HARRIETTE: I've recently been watching and have become of fan of a television show called "Little Women." It displays the lives of individuals born with dwarfism. I learn a lot about the condition and the problems little people face on a daily basis, but I also learned that they are just normal people.
Most of the show's cast members have kids, and this sparked a debate between a friend and me. My friend claims that it is selfish for these people to have kids because their kids often face the same medical conditions as their parents. He said that it's better for people with dwarfism to adopt children in foster homes instead of having their own. I feel the opposite and don’t understand his viewpoint. Little people do have struggles, but they operate in life the same way people of average height do, so they should have kids if they can provide for them. I told my friend he should adopt a child since he was so concerned about it. What middle ground, if any, can you offer to this debate? -- The Right To Have Children
DEAR THE RIGHT TO HAVE CHILDREN: What I appreciate about some of the reality shows that are airing these days, like "Little Women," is that viewers are exposed to the lives of folks they might otherwise never meet. While there can be medical challenges to people born with dwarfism, as the show depicts, they also face the same trials and joys as people not born with that condition. Also, as you have seen, they don’t always give birth to children with the same medical challenges. In fact, one of the women on the show has twins -- one with dwarfism, and one without.
I think that people of all backgrounds, including those living with any number of medical conditions, should talk with their doctors and review the risks of giving birth to children. There are many medical screenings that exist these days to help potential parents learn about what chromosomal risks they may face, as well as other concerns. My advice to your friend is to mind his own business.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have felt the urge to meet up with old friends recently. I’ve been so busy in recent years that I hardly get to see anyone. A couple of friends have died in the past few months, and it got me thinking that I really need to be more engaged with the people I love. The downside is that I’m exhausted from all of the socializing. I have a busy work schedule, and I have a family with teenage children. I need to pay attention to them, too. How can I manage what seems really important with the rest of my schedule? -- Betwixt
DEAR BETWIXT: This is why people have parties! Can you plan a barbecue or some other type of get-together this summer where it’s not so much a one-on-one but more a group of people you love coming together at one time to enjoy one another? While that’s not the same as an intimate dinner where you go into details with friends about your lives, it is a way for you to connect face-to-face with people you love.
(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.)