Dear Annie: My best friend and I agree on almost everything, but something has come up that has caused us to argue, and we decided to turn to you for advice. We both have children who are in their first year of high school, and when they graduate they want to go to college.
Our argument has been over the college cheating scandal that has sent shockwaves through the country. My friend says the parents who bribed their kids' way into prestigious universities did what any loving parent would do, and that we should show forgiveness to them and their children. We are both Christians, and she says forgiveness is a tenet of our faith. She says that just because some of the parents are rich and famous, they are being unfairly singled out for harsher punishment than usual.
My argument is that these parents did a great disservice to their children, to the universities and to the well-deserving applicants who got turned down because the rich kids took their rightful place. I think the students who were admitted under false pretenses should all be kicked out — no exceptions. They stole something that did not belong to them — acceptance to a prestigious university. The parents should serve jail time to send a lesson to anyone who wants to cheat or buy their way into a school in the future.
You have a great deal of wisdom for your years, and we both read your column regularly and have decided to turn to you for your thoughts. I showed this letter to my friend to make sure that she felt that I was portraying both of our positions accurately, and she agreed. — Friends in Disagreement
Dear Friends: You both make good points, but I agree with you that simply forgiving everyone without any consequences would send a bad message to future cheaters. If I were the judge in these cases, here is what I would do with those parents who are found guilty: I would sentence them to pay a hefty fine — double the amount of money they spent on bribes. They would pay the fine to the same university they cheated, and the university would be required by law to use that money for scholarships for worthy applicants. That is paying a price, but one with a positive outcome that will improve the lives of hard-working students who are not from rich or famous families.
Dear Annie: I've lived on the American west coast my whole life, but I really want to move east. I feel more at home there. Multiple strangers — and friends — have told me I have more of an east coast vibe. But packing up and moving across the country is terrifying. I feel in my gut that it's the right thing, but there's not a ton of logic behind that feeling. It would be a good thing to broaden my horizons, branch out, get out of my comfort zone. (All the best things I've ever done have been scary in the moment.) So should I follow my heart and head East? If you think so, do you have any tips for the move and adjusting to the other side of the country? — Coast to Coast Dear Coast to Coast: Always trust your gut, but set yourself up to succeed. Life is for living and taking risks. When you are older looking back, you will not regret the experiences that you had outside your comfort zone so much as you will regret the ones you let slip away. Eleanor Roosevelt wisely recommended doing one thing that scares you every day. If you feel in your heart that you are supposed to head east, then head east, but do it with a plan. Try to line up a job. Select an area where you have friends or a support system so that you don't feel too isolated or alone. Research the area you'd like to life to have some familiarity with the neighborhood. You don't want to spread your wings and then not be able to take off, or, worse, crash before you start.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]