Q: Our grandson has been in college for a year, and his parents have encouraged him to go for a business degree. He has given it serious thought as a major but has decided he would prefer to study English to become a writer. Both we and his parents believe that career would not provide a living for him and a family. Should we continue to encourage him to switch to business?
A: Having many years of experience both in a business career and as a writer, I agree with you that he would find making a living as a writer difficult and frustrating.
However, I also believe that finding a passion for one's life is one of the most satisfying decisions one can make. Passion proves that life is not work but a pleasure, and it makes one happier. Unfortunately, not too many of us succeed in doing so.
English majors do have other options. They can become teachers or choose from other careers as a base for employment and use their spare time for writing. Writing demands hard work. Writers face isolation because it takes lots of concentration for them to do their research and perform well.
Discuss these and other realities with him. He is still in a learning mode, and the most important goal now is to earn a degree that will enhance his chances of moving forward successfully. — Doug
SPENDING TIME WITH GRANDSON
Q: My grandson moved back to our hometown two years ago, and I've been blessed to have him as a part of my life. It's lovely to be able to see him often, and I always enjoy going out to meals together. However, he recently started dating someone, and he's now busy all the time.
When we make plans, he frequently cancels or changes them. This is starting to get on my nerves, and I don't know how to address the issue. What would you recommend?
A: Because your current way of planning to spend time together isn't working, think about what the source of the problem is. Although your grandson is the one changing plans, it's possible that both of you are playing a part.
If your grandson has less free time than before, maybe you need to be more flexible or even adjust your expectations. Consider a couple of questions: How often do you make plans? Is your own schedule rigid? What time constraints do the two of you have, and how can you work around them?
Your issue also could be caused by a breakdown in communication, and your grandson may not realize how his behavior is impacting you. It can be hard to voice our disputes with the people we love, but you may need to talk about this with him. If you do, try your best to listen to his side and be patient.
Most of all, whenever you're irritated, remind yourself that you're lucky to have him in your life. Problems always seem less severe when we stay positive. — Emma
Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.