Dear Annie: My husband and I are 72 and retired. We have always had a special relationship with our 27-year-old grandson, bailing him out financially whenever he was in a tight situation.
However, he just recently asked for big help with his rent, utilities and other expenses since he changed jobs again. His new job sounds very promising, but history tells us that something bad will happen with this opportunity as well.
He did not take our refusal to help him very well, and my husband is feeling guilty about not helping him out, although we really cannot afford this any longer. I feel we had no choice and that he must learn to deal with life’s problems himself.
Am I right? Will he learn?
— Enabler No More
Dear Enabler No More: Yes, you are right. He is a 27-year-old adult and very capable of providing for himself.
This was the kindest thing you could do for him and his self-esteem — in the long run. He might be mad and have a little tantrum, but once he is over it, he will realize that he can indeed take care of himself and will, hopefully, apologize to you for having acted like a child.
Give a man a fish and he will always ask for more; teach him to fish and he can provide dinner for himself and his entire family.
• • •
Dear Annie: This is a message to the girl who was cyberbullied: I know you have a beautiful spirit because you thought the best about the girls and didn’t understand their ugliness. Internal beauty gets more beautiful with time, physical beauty less so. (That doesn’t mean you’re not beautiful outside, too.)
The main girl and her followers are attacking you because they see that you are different. Using their experience and vocabulary, the closest they can come is “nerd.” It is your choice to be bullied or not, not theirs. If you’re not bullied, they will be wasting their time, and people will see them as they are.
Don’t look at their stuff, and don’t pay attention to them in school. To be more “nerdy,” write, “I forgive you, and I am moving on.” Help another good nerdy girl, as two are stronger together. It will encourage others and open up a whole new world with the kind of people you want to be with. They are out there.
— Concerned Grandmother
Dear Concerned: Thank you for your beautiful letter. Focusing on the beauty inside of people will lead to a much happier, more fun and more joyful life. Your vibe attracts your tribe, and you are encouraging this beautiful young girl to find her tribe. I love it!
• • •
Dear Annie: Before cyberbullying, my grandson was physically bullied by a leader and two boys. They knocked him down, broke his arm and threatened his life in school. They got away with it.
My daughter contacted the police, who secured counseling for the bullies. The police said that in another year, the boys would have been so emboldened as to be beyond help and most likely would be in the criminal justice system.
Today, my “nerdy” grandson has a master’s degree and a lovely wife. They have a darling baby; a nice home; many kind, successful friends; and spectacular careers. Happy endings can take time and effort.
— Grateful Grandma
Dear Grateful Grandma: It was wonderful that your daughter involved the police and you were all able to stop events that could have turned tragic.
I’m always reminded of the famous Aesop’s fable of the tortoise and the hare. Sometimes, the slower to develop or bloom end up winning the race.
In life, that goal is to find happiness and to be surrounded by friends and family, filled up with warmth and love. You should be so proud of your grandson, and your daughter is something special.
• • •
— A native Californian, Annie Lane writes her Dear Annie advice columns from her home outside New York City, where she lives with her husband, two kids and two dogs. Her debut book, Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie, features favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette. Email your Dear Annie questions to [email protected]. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.