DR. WALLACE: My parents are avid readers of your column, and most of the time, they agree with your advice 100%. Our family will often discuss your daily advice, and sometimes we "debate" on whether your advice was excellent, very good, average, below average or even terrible.
But now the time has come when I need your advice — hopefully advice with an "excellent" response. I'm 15 and a good student at my school. I am also on the junior varsity tennis team. This makes me feel very happy. I love being on the team. My grandmother, who lives with us, is trying to convince my parents that girls should not participate in athletics because it is not "ladylike." Please inform my parents that playing sports is an asset and is, indeed, "ladylike." — Anonymous, Dallas
ANONYMOUS: There are many solid reasons for participating in athletics! Besides the benefits of regular exercise, which promote good health, female athletes also, on average, have higher grades than girls who do not participate in athletics. Athletics also promote teamwork, self-esteem and respect for other competitors, officials and the local community members who attend the matches. Teen girls who participate in sports are ladylike both on and off the court, field, pool or track. Make sure your parents relay this information to your grandmother, who is absolutely incorrect on this particular topic. I support student-athletes of both genders to enjoy participating in their favorite sports.
SMOKER OF ONE MILLION CIGARETTES HAS QUIT!
DR. WALLACE: Even though I am a senior citizen, I enjoy reading your column to find out how our young people are doing. Recently, I noticed a letter from a 19-year-old girl who wanted to quit smoking, but she said it was too late because she had been a pack-a-day smoker for four long years.
Not to worry! It can be done at any age. I'm 78 and decided I had had enough tobacco a year ago. I took my last pack of cigarettes and threw them in the garbage. I haven't had one cigarette since. I smoked my first cigarette when I was 11 years old. One of my buddies snuck a pack of cigarettes from his father and started me on a nasty habit that lasted some 66 years or so. When I quit, I was going through two packs of cigarettes or more every 24 hours.
I honestly feel better since I quit smoking, and now I'm saving quite a bit of money. Cigarette smoking is a costly habit. I just wanted this 19-year-old girl to realize that it's never too late to quit smoking. I did it, and I know she can, too. — Nonsmoking Grandpa, Lexington, Kentucky
NONSMOKING GRANDPA: Congratulations! It sure took you a while, but I am proud of you for quitting and for sharing your story with our young readers. If a person who has smoked nearly a million cigarettes can quit, anyone can. I did the math and was stunned to see how high your number was! (40 cigarettes per day multiplied by 365 days and then multiplied by 66 years calculates to over 960,000 smokes!) You are a true inspiration to every human being who smokes and wants to quit. All it takes is the desire to be smoke-free coupled with a large amount of intestinal fortitude.
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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