Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

DEAR HARRIETTE: I belong to a social club. Since sheltering at home began and restaurants and stuff have been closed, they, too, have shut down. Management invited members to contribute to a fund for the staff. I thought that was nice; they’ve had no income, and most of them want to be artists, so they had nowhere to turn during this time. I chose to give what I could to them rather than to a random charity. When I told my sister about it, she said that if I can’t get a tax write-off, I am wasting my money. I think that’s the wrong attitude. I know these people, and they have been very kind to me over the years. Giving a few dollars to help them out seems like a small but helpful gesture. What do you think? -- Generosity

DEAR GENEROSITY: Good for you that you have chosen to be supportive of people you know who are struggling at this time. It is true that many people who work in restaurants, bars and social clubs double as artists. For many, having the stability of a job that has flexible hours and that comes with tips can make the difference in being able to pay basic bills like rent, food, telephone and utilities. I think you were smart to follow your heart and give what could to help these people.

Your sister isn’t wrong either. It’s great if you can get a tax write-off for your generosity. But what’s even better is for you to give from your heart to those in need.

Read more in: Covid 19

DEAR HARRIETTE: This is in response to the letter from the mother who was upset, because her son was calling her by her first name. More than 34 years ago, my 7-year-old daughter started doing the same thing, and it irritated me, plus I pictured her 3-year-old brother picking up the same bad habit. After thinking about it a bit, I told my daughter that, yes, my name is Helen, and lots of people called me that, but there were only two people in the whole world that were able to call me Mommy. I could see the wheels moving in her head as she digested the fact that using the name Mommy made her special and privileged, and it was never an issue again. I was so happy this worked, I told myself I'd share my story when someone else was having the same problem. Good luck! -- Mommy Helen

DEAR MOMMY HELEN: What a wonderful story! It is a privilege and a blessing to be able to be a mommy and to have someone call you Mommy. The bond that exists between a mother and child can be so strong and powerful -- and unique. Your approach presented a brilliant way for your daughter to grasp how precious the name that helps to define your relationship is. I hope other families will use this strategy when needed. Thanks so much.

(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.)

Read more in: Family & Parenting