While I’m away, readers give the advice.
On informing young people they won’t be in a family member’s wedding party:
Fifty years ago, as a teenager, I was not included in a cousin’s wedding party, but another cousin was. My mother was furious at her brother, the bride’s father, and she communicated to me that my appearance at the wedding would be a complete humiliation for me.
I foolishly RSVP’d that I would “definitely not” be attending the wedding.
The result was a lasting rift in already strained relations in the family. I have always regretted such an unwise and immature reaction. Parents need to understand that it is their job to foster love and understanding, not bitterness and hate within their children. Children who find love in the world grow up with self-esteem and a sense of self-worth. Those who do not, spend their lives looking for slights wherever they go.
Older and Much Wiser
On helping boys choose better mates:
Even when boys grow up, they tend to get, as I call it “struck dumb by the pretty” and fail to notice not only all the non-physical traits a woman has, but also miss the red-flag character traits. So I’ve told my nephews I don’t want to hear about any new girlfriend unless they can name at least five things they like about her that don’t include “she’s really pretty.” This aunt is going to knock the caveman out of them if it’s the last thing I do.
Girls are hardly immune to appearances; I hope this aunt goes equal-opportunity.