I have always been struck by how many of my patients reference Dear Abby when talking about a difficult decision they faced. Dear Abby’s advice spanned from basic to difficult moral issues. RIP Abigail Van Buren (aka Pauline Freedman Phillips) whose simple timeless advice can teach all of us some lessons.
1. Character: “The best index to a person’s character is how he treats someone who can’t do him any good.”
2. Same sex marriage: "I believe if two people want to commit to each other, God bless 'em." "That is the highest form of commitment, for heaven's sake."
3. Divorce: "I always thought that marriage should be forever.” "I found out through my readers that sometimes the best thing they can do is part. If a man or woman is a constant cheater, the situation can be intolerable. Especially if they have children. When kids see parents fighting, or even sniping at each other, I think it is terribly damaging."
4. Acceptance: Two men had recently bought a house together in the San Francisco neighborhood of Nob Hill, and the neighbors were annoyed. The men were entertaining "a very suspicious mixture of people." The neighbors wrote to Dear Abby asking, "How can we improve the neighborhood?" "You could move," Dear Abby replied.
5. Sex over the age of 50: “Sex after 50 is wonderful you don’t have to worry about getting pregnant, you don’t have the kids, so you can make as much noise as you want….sex after 50 is wonderful.”
6. Premarital sex: If people are old enough to support themselves and live away from home, I think they have a right to select their own lifestyles without asking anyone.”
7. Working Mothers: "I think it's good to have a woman work if she wants to and doesn't leave her children unattended — if she has a reliable person to care for them. Kids still need someone to watch them until they are mature enough to make responsible decisions."
8. Tongue Piercing and Multiple piercings: “When you are 18 and out on your own, you can pierce to your heart's content if you wish. I'm sure you can find a less radical way to express your inner self if you put your mind to it.”
9. Happiness: "Fear less, hope more. Eat less, chew more. Talk less, say more. Hate less, love more, and never underestimate the power of forgiveness."
10. Respect: There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who walk into a room and say, "There you are," and those who say, "Here I am."
What are your favorites?
- Dr. O
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