Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Self-Employed Reader Gets Called for Jury Duty

DEAR HARRIETTE: I got called for jury duty. I had been able to dodge it for the past 10 years or so, but this time they said I have to come. I’m self-employed, and I can’t afford to take off this time. How can I make clear my circumstances? -- No Jury Duty

DEAR NO JURY DUTY: I understand your sentiment. Virtually nobody wants to serve on jury duty. Yet it is an integral part of the democratic process. In order to have a trial with an outcome determined by a jury of your peers, peers have to agree to serve. I challenge you to change your thinking about this.

Go in on the required date that your summons indicates. Let the attendant know the parameters of your service. Typically, you have to be available at least three days. For many people, one day of service ends up being enough. You spend a lot of time sitting and waiting to be called to be interviewed by attorneys who determine if you are right for their case. Juries are usually made up of 6 or 12 jurors, so most people are not chosen. Make sure you let all appropriate parties know when you must work so that you aren’t chosen for a potentially long trial.

The good news is that once you’ve served, you won’t have to serve again for at least four years.

DEAR HARRIETTE: In response to parents needing to talk with teens about sexual misconduct, are you aware of Rev. Scott Phelps’ Abstinence and Marriage Program? It is a down-to-earth curriculum for seventh through 12th graders. Many Illinois schools use the program as part of their sex education classes.

Parents are not parenting very much, so the schools must step up and parent. -- Concerned Grandmother

DEAR CONCERNED GRANDMOTHER: Thank you for sharing this program, which can be found at I do think that it is important for young people to learn about how to honor their bodies. The younger they learn this, the better off they are.

While the notion of abstinence before marriage seems antiquated for many, I do believe it is important for young people to know that it is a wise choice that they should soberly consider. We no longer live in a culture that preaches abstinence to stay out of hell, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth seriously contemplating.

I talk to teenagers on a regular basis and know that peer pressure is powerful. Regarding sex, often they have not talked to their parents about their values. Sometimes parents try to pressure their teens into making the choices they deem correct without having full discussions with them that address their ideas as well. I believe that exposing our young people to the importance of valuing their bodies as sacred and protecting them as such is important. When they have the knowledge and the tools to give voice to their own beliefs, they have the potential to make choices that serve them even if those beliefs are different from their friends’.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)