DR. WALLACE: I'm a 16-year-old Asian American girl living with my parents in a small Midwestern town. My parents came to America when they were young. I'm the only Asian student in my school, and I stand out in this way. But the good news is I have many good friends at my school, especially a lot of girlfriends who play on our school's various sports teams. My parents are very strict. They keep telling me that I must be strong and should make them proud with my academic grades. That puts a lot of extra pressure on me, but I am already a good student, and I do maintain very good grades.
I can't participate in any after-school activities because, as my parents both say, "It will interfere with my studies." I'm a pretty good athlete during physical education class, and I would like to be able to play on a girls sports team, but the answer from my parents is always no. I know I could maintain excellent grades and participate in sports at the same time. I know I could still complete my homework even if I had some of my time allocated to participating on a school sports team.
My parents do read your column and almost always agree with your advice. In fact, they encourage me to keep reading your columns. Please give me your advice so that hopefully my parents can read it and consider agreeing with your point of view — which hopefully will match mine! I'd like to enjoy the rest of my high school years even more by participating in at least one team sport with the other girls. — Just Want a Chance, via email
JUST WANT A CHANCE: Your question is similar to another one I recently received but with an important twist, so I am pleased to present my answer to your specific situation here in today's column. I believe it's time for a parent-counselor meeting regarding your desire to be allowed to participate in after-school sports. It's important your parents are told that certain extracurricular, after-school activities actually are quite beneficial to a good student who wishes to apply to the best colleges and universities.
The schools of higher education enjoy having students who had excellent high school grades and who also participated in after-school activities during their high school years.
These types of students are considered "well-rounded." Show your counselor today's column when you get a chance and request that he or she contact your parents to set up a meeting.
This professional will know what to do to help you enjoy school to the fullest and also how to explain this situation quite well to your parents. Good luck with both your studies and your sporting aspirations!
FORGET THEIR LACK OF A MARRIAGE LICENSE
DR. WALLACE: I'm an only child and live with my parents. Last week, I asked my mother why she and my dad never celebrate their wedding anniversary. She said it wasn't important. Then I asked her when and where she and my dad were married, and there was a long pause before she softly said: "Your father and I were in love when you were conceived, and as you are well aware, we are still in love, but we never thought it was necessary to get married."
I was flabbergasted and stunned at the same time. I'm 15 and shocked to discover that I'm a child of unwed parents. Even though I love my mother and father and they both love me very much, I now have a funny feeling about them.
Is there anything I should do now that I'm aware I could have been conceived in the backseat of a car and the only reason my parents stayed together was because they had a child? I should also add that if my parents got married tomorrow, it wouldn't ease my feelings at this point. — Shocked, via email
SHOCKED: You are allowing your imagination to overpower your common sense. What is of the utmost importance is the fact that your mother and father love each other, they love you, and for you, in return, to love them both. The lack of a marriage license for your parents should now be a nonissue. There are many children out there, especially teens, who have divorced parents who do not live together anymore. And there are families where the parents are currently married but do not get along at all. Therefore, consider yourself lucky that you are now — and have been your whole life — living in a loving household with two wonderful parents.
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.
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