Q: My niece has a 1-year-old son. Neither my niece nor the baby’s father is religious, and they have chosen not to have the baby baptized. My sister, the baby’s grandmother, while not wanting to impose her beliefs on the parents, comes from a generation when even couples who were not demonstrably religious usually had their baby baptized.
I know it would comfort my sister to know this ancient ceremony had been performed. Since my sister watches the little boy at her house, would it be wrong for us to organize an informal baptism — just holy water and a couple of prayers? We don’t feel we need to have an officiant of any religion present and, of course, we would not tell the baby’s parents. Would this be appropriate? — Mortified in Montana
A: No, it would not. If you were sure that it would be, you wouldn’t have written to me about it. My advice is to not do ANYTHING like this behind the parents’ backs, because if you do, there will be hell to pay. Consider this: Not all denominations baptize their members as infants.
Q: Please post my message for people to be more considerate and nonjudgmental about their “help.” I am a housekeeper by choice. I have office skills, massage therapy skills and many talents, but I have noticed that clients seem to have a preconceived idea of who I am.
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I am not someone who is money-driven. I am also not uneducated. I am a person who enjoys helping others, no matter what I may be doing. What I do for a living is not who I am.
I have been treated disrespectfully. People who have housekeepers: beware. We “might” be doing a sociological study on how people treat the help. Wasn’t there a movie about that? Be kind to each other, people! — The Help
A: What you have experienced isn’t a problem faced only by housekeepers. It is something that many service industry workers encounter all too often. Perhaps it happens because some people were never taught that inside the uniform is a person with real feelings and that everyone deserves to be treated with respect.
Q: After a year together, my boyfriend recently proposed. We plan to wed in two years. During this time, he intends to move into my home so we can save for the wedding. My parents, however, are completely against our living together before we get married.
Abby, I’m 30 years old and so is my fiance. I own my own home, and my boyfriend currently rents. My parents are very traditional and may not help with the wedding if we move in together. We can’t afford to pay for much if we don’t do it and save. On top of that, we are excited to start our lives together. Do I honor my parents’ wishes or do what I feel is right for me and my fiance? — Rock and a Hard Place
A: You and your fiance are both 30, which means you are well into adulthood. Don’t you think it’s time for you both to start becoming and thinking like independent adults? By that I mean deciding which is more important to you: living your lives the way your parents want or the way you want.