Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tricks and Treats

I haven't been keeping up so well with the seems all the crazies who were writing to the columnists this summer have gone into hibernation, not to mention the fact that I'm wearing out my typing fingers wandering the Internet in search of my columns (yes, I'm still bitter, Tribune).

As I suspected before, the only real casualty has been Tales from the Front....I can get to a Cheryl Lavin page through Tribune Media Services that offers "sample" columns, but they're not up to date, just selections from her illustrious career (not that it makes THAT much of a difference...she does cover a lot of the same ground over and over again. As they all do).

Anyway, enough with the administrivia.....on to the columns.

It's Halloween time, and the scariest aspect of all is the annual emergence of the militant anti-Halloween army, proclaiming that Halloween is pagan (anyone care to describe to them the history of Christmas? Or Easter?) and forbidding their children from attending satanic parties where, no doubt, the same music and games that pervade every non-pagan Friday night would rear their ugly heads. Amy's supplicant writes thus:

Dear Amy: I am 13 years old. One of my good friends is having a Halloween party this year. My parents aren't letting me go, because they say Halloween is "pagan." All my friends are going to this party. I really don't want to be the odd-girl out, but my parents won't even listen to me! When I asked if they had ever been "trick-or-treating," they said to drop the subject or I'd be grounded! I am really upset about this, and I am not sure what to tell my friend. — Not Tricked or Treated

Amy consistently maintains that, in general, it's parents' job to do their best by their kids, and kids' job to accept and respect their parents' authority. It's a good thing, I think, that she maintains her stance even when she's probably rolling her eyes at the parents--and she doesn't even let it show in a conspiratorial wink to the girl. She remains totally neutral, responding as she would to any other angsty teen letter: sorry you feel you're missing out on the fun, you have to do what your parents say, no you shouldn't defy them over this, and you're probably not as alone and outcast as you think you are. The end.

I basically agree with the advice, but wouldn't be able to be so neutral....I'd probably say something like, "yes, your parents are nutters, but since you live with them and they're your parents, you have to do what they say anyway." And thus would probably inadvertently give the girl the pluck to sneak out.

Sometimes, it seems, the best advice is to say very little and remain as calm and neutral as possible. Amy often does not do this so well with adults, but she does it very well with kids--probably because with kids, she can always just refer them to their parents, who have to do the real work. Adults she has the freedom to tell what she really thinks.

Oh man, I'm out of practice and rambling on and on. Have to stop now, and hopefully write more consistently, and coherently, in the future.

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