TEENS: Cheating in classes is on the rise and, according to a survey by who's who among American high school students, it's honor students who are leading the way!
A total of 3,123 of honor students participated in the survey — and a shocking 80 percent of them admitted they got to the top of their class the easy way, by cheating. And many students said they were not caught and punished due to lax enforcement by teachers.
The cheaters didn't have any guilty feelings; most had adopted the attitude, "I cheat because everyone else's cheating." Sadly, many parents also don't feel that cheating is such a big deal. Many of them have been cheating on their income tax forms for years.
My advice? Never cheat, and earn everything on your own volition and hard work. You'll gain a sense of personal pride, and you'll never have to look over your shoulder to see who might be chasing after you.
WHO DO I SEE IN CHURCH?
DR. WALLACE: I was dating my boyfriend for more than a year, but we broke up because he wouldn't go to church with me. He didn't go to any church at all, and my mother put a lot of pressure on me to break up with him because our family is very religious. Breaking up was very difficult. I still care for him and he is a real nice guy who treated me like a lady.
Well, two weeks ago, who do I see in church? It was "my guy" and he was with another girl, who also attends my church. He came over and talked to me and asked me to call him. When I did, he said he'd break up with other girl to go back with me if I take him back — and he would attend church with me. I talked it over with my mom, who said I shouldn't try to get him to break up with his new girlfriend because it would look funny if he suddenly started attending church with me.
I'm confused. My "former" guy now wants to go out with me again and he will attend church with me. That's all I ever wanted in the first place and is also what I thought my mother wanted. But now it's not good enough. What should I do? — Perplexed, Salt Lake City
PERPLEXED: Don't encourage this young man to break up with his girlfriend, but if he does (on his own,) ask him to first continue coming to church by himself for a few weeks. See if he sticks with it, and then take things slowly from there. If he indeed seems sincere and stable, it might be enough to convince your mom that he's the right guy for you.
ANOREXIA CAN CAUSE STARVATION
DR. WALLACE: I'm 16, 5'1" tall, and weigh 95 pounds. I've heard that rumors are going around my school that I'm anorexic. This really bothers me! I've actually been trying to gain weight, not lose it. I don't eat fattening junk food, but I do eat a lot of good foods — fruits and veggies, lean protein and the like. I also take a doctor prescribed food supplement. I really take an interest in my health and nutrition and might even elect to work in that field as a career some day.
But for now, what can I do to squash these rumors about me? I feel like eating pizza and French fries every day at lunch so people will know I don't have an eating disorder. However, I don't want to do that merely for show. I just want to be myself, and I know I'm doing fine when it comes to eating and nutrition — Small and slender, Fort Myers, Florida
SMALL & SLENDER: You obviously don't need to change your eating habits. Continue to eat nutritious meals, but do eat your lunch with a group whenever possible. Once your friends see you devour large quantities of healthy foods they will indeed know you're not anorexic. People with anorexia can eat very little of any kind of food, which can lead to multiple health problems and even death. This is nothing to take lightly or joke about. If a few of your friends and acquaintances are interested, you can help educate them on healthy eating habits — but be careful not to force your philosophy on anyone. Just the offer to help educate your fellow students on nutrition likely will launch a new narrative on your healthy eating habits. This would quickly eliminate any future false rumors about you. Finally, feel free to tell your friends and fellow students that often times good things come in small packages!
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 [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.