DR. WALLACE: I am a retired teacher, and I enjoy reading your column so I can keep up with today's teens. I agree with much that you say, but I strongly disagree with your "teachers shouldn't paddle" philosophy. When I was teaching, a rap on the knuckles by a teacher or a paddle on the rump administered by the principal did wonders to keep unruly students on the straight and narrow.
If I had a dollar for every time I rapped someone's knuckles, I'd be a rich retired teacher. I believe in strong discipline, and corporal punishment is a tool of strong discipline. Did I change your mind? — Teacher, Peoria, Ill.
TEACHER: No. I, too, believe in strong discipline, but I still don't believe teachers or administrators should administer spankings or knuckle rappings to unruly students. There are far more effective ways to maintain discipline and too many potential negative side effects to corporal punishment. Educators should educate; parents should discipline.
I CAN'T GET HIM TO SAY MUCH TO ME
DR. WALLACE: I've been going out with this guy for over two weeks. I like him a lot and I think he likes me, too, but it's hard to tell. I can't get him to say much to me. I don't expect him to be a chatterbox, but I also don't want him to be mute. I was advised to ask him questions to get him into a conversation, so I tried this, but all I get are his yes or no answers. I guess he is really self-conscious or just very shy. How can I get him to be more outgoing? — Becky, Tacoma, Wash.
BECKY: Asking shy people questions usually gets them to open up, but you need to be patient and persistent. For starters, don't ask questions that can be answered with a yes or no. Instead of asking "Do you like pizza?" say, "Pizza and French fries are two of my favorite foods. What foods do you enjoy most?" The answers might be short and to the point, but at least they won't be yes or no. Also, ask him questions like "What was your favorite part of the movie?" or "Why do you think we lost the football game?"
The longer you date this boy, the more comfortable he will feel with you, and then you will have a normal conversation with him.
IS PLAYING THE LOTTERY GAMBLING?
DR. WALLACE: Do you consider playing any kind of lottery to be gambling? My buddies and I like to play the power ball lottery. It's exciting and you could win millions of dollars. I spend about $5 a week on the lottery and so does my friend. My dad doesn't care that I play, but he says if I win, I've got to give him half the winnings.
My friend's parents are upset with us because they think we will get addicted to the lottery and wind up as destitute gamblers. All we're doing is buying a few lottery tickets weekly. It's not as if we were going to Las Vegas and losing the house, the car and the family business on slot machines. Give me your honest opinion. Both my friend and I are 18. — Mike, Rockford, Ill.
MIKE: I'm well aware that millions of Americans play various forms of the lottery and some of the money earned by the states goes to benefit its citizens, but the bottom line is that buying a lottery ticket is a form of gambling and gambling can become highly addictive. I'm not saying that you will become addicted to gambling, but according to Edward Looney, executive director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling, lottery gamblers make up 47 percent of all gambling hotline calls. Now, don't ever say you weren't warned!
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.