DR. WALLACE: I am a 17-year-old woman who feels your column is fascinating because, as an English major, (I'm in my second year at the University of Washington) I'm extremely interested in the affect journalism has on youth.
I became a university student last year after obtaining an early entrance to the U of W. Many people feel there is something extraordinary about this, but I believe as many as 5 percent of all 16-year-olds, if given the opportunity, could succeed with university work.
I am a very happy 17-year-old, but I do have a few things to share with the adults of the world. Because of my age, I am denied the right of choice of housing, voting, sexual responsibility, entering bars (I don't drink, but have friends who do), and seeking employment on an adult level. Even the right to have my ears pierced was denied me without parental permission.
I speak on behalf of all intelligent young men and women, particularly those who are sheltered from the world by being forced to attend high school. Many times society keeps us "young" too long, denying the fact that we are rational, responsible beings.
I am not a freak or an oddity. I have different moods, but I'm a happy, healthy woman who feels good about herself, rooms alone, and makes her own decisions. I am what I am because my parents had the good sense to permit me to grow at my own speed. I love and respect them, but I sometimes make decisions they disagree with. Still, I believe in parental guidance and I still seek it.
Young adults don't want to be stifled by society. We want to be encouraged to search, learn and grow. — Nameless, Seattle, Wash.
NAMELESS: I agree with you. Often, the mission of high school winds up being to "keep the kids off of the street" or out of the employment market rather than to be a place to nurture learning. Nor is it quite right that chronological age rather than maturity is the criterion used for granting most rights. There must be a better way, but the current system does teach patience. You'll be rewarded with the full rights of adulthood soon!
Some adults still operate under the old saying, "Children should be seen and not heard." You're fortunate that your parents know better. Thanks for your intelligent and extremely well-written letter.
STUDENTS WRITE TO PRESIDENT
DR. WALLACE: The students in our history class are writing letters to President Trump. Will you please give me his address? Also, do you know if the president reads all of his mail? — Thank you, Sandy, Houston, Tex.
SANDY: Send the letters to President Donald Trump, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20500. The White House mail room reports that the president receives up to 20,000 pieces of mail daily. It takes a huge staff just to open and sort all of the letters.
It would be impossible for the president to read all the correspondence that is mailed to him, but I'm informed that, when time allows, he enjoys reading letters from students. Don't be surprised if the president responds to your class project.
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. E-mail him at [email protected] 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.