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Mickey Mantle's Sons Didn't Make It

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DR. WALLACE: I'm 16 and the youngest child. I've got two older sisters attending college. Both of them border on brilliancy. They were straight-A students who were really well liked by their teachers. I'm no idiot, but I also don't border on brilliancy. My teachers, many of whom have taught my sisters, don't understand that I'm a normal B student. These teachers have accused me of being lazy, having an "I don't care" attitude, and being defiant.

All of these accusations just are not true. I care about my studies, do my homework and get the best grades possible. I know there is not much you can do, but since you are a former educator maybe you can tell me why teachers always compare brothers and sisters and think they are all equal. - Caroline, Sacramento, Calif.

CAROLINE: It's just human nature for people to expect a lot from children or siblings of those who have a particular gift or talent. Mickey Mantle was a skilled and gifted Hall of Fame baseball player. When his twin sons signed their first professional contract, many expected them to be equally skilled in baseball as their famous father. It didn't work out that way.

There is nothing wrong with teachers expecting younger siblings to reach the goals established by older brothers and sisters. When this doesn't occur, the teachers should discuss the reason why and then deal with reality. A teacher's prime goal is to accept all students the way they are and to take them as far as their abilities will allow.

Anything else is unacceptable.

It might be wise if your parents and you had a conference with your counselor to discuss your concerns.

FIND SOMEONE YOUR OWN AGE

DR. WALLACE: My husband showed me your column, and it really upset me. You told a 17-year-old girl that she should stop seeing a guy who was 27, even though they loved each other. I'm 17 and very happily married to a guy who is 27. When I first saw the column, I thought it was intended for my husband and me. The girl who wrote the letter lives in Atlanta, and my husband and I also live there. Everyone we know tried to tell us not to get married, and fortunately, we didn't listen to them. We are a very happily married couple. Was this letter intended for us? If not, I hope this 17-year-girl can work things out with her 27-year-old guy. - Nameless, Atlanta, Ga.

NAMELESS: The letter wasn't intended for you. Once a couple marries, they become a family, and age difference is not very important. I'm very happy that your husband and you are doing well. I know you both will continue having a loving relationship. But I still will not change my advice to the 17-year-old girl who is dating a 27-year-old guy. I told her to stop seeing this guy and find someone nearer to her own age to date.

Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at rwallace@galesburg.net. To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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