DR. WALLACE: I'm a 75-year-old grandmother who fell and broke my hip two months ago. After being released from the hospital five weeks ago, I was wondering how my 77-year-old husband was going to take care of me. He has a hard time cooking. He can't even boil water.
The problem was solved even before it started. My two granddaughters, Susan, 16, and Erin, 15, volunteered their services until I could get back up on my feet.
Their mom brings them by for 30 minutes before school, and she and the girls tidy up the house, make breakfast for Grandma and Grandpa and set out the food that Grandpa can microwave for our lunch. Then after school, the three angels prepare supper and run any errands we might need.
I have read a lot of negative reports about today's teens, but I never read much about the wonderful teens who donate their time doing good deeds for others. My granddaughters, Lacey and Willow, certainly fall into this category.
Dr. Wallace, will you please help an old, sick granny feel a lot better by letting the world know how much I appreciate my wonderful granddaughters? It's high time we read about the good teens once in a while. — Grateful Grandma, Orange, California
GRATEFUL GRANDMA: I agree! It's always enjoyable to hear nice news about teens. We often hear about problems concerning the younger generations, but there is far more news out there that is very good. Too bad so much of it is overlooked. Thank you for taking the time to help rectify the situation, especially since your personal story is so heartwarming. Most teens are wonderful citizens. Several of them donate their time helping others and doing volunteer work. In fact, it is teens, as a group, who donate the most time volunteering for worthy causes.
THE 18-YEAR-OLD GUYS BACK OFF
DR. WALLACE: I'm a 14-year-old girl who looks more like 18, and I really need your help. I'm 5 feet, 5 inches tall, have a nice figure and have been told I look like a model. I also dress in up-to-date fashions and wear tasteful makeup. Everyone thinks I'm very mature for my age, and that gives me self-confidence.
My problem is that often 18- and 19-year-old guys are always really interested in asking me out, but when they find out that I'm only 14, they stop calling. Please tell me what to do. I refuse to date boys my own age; everyone knows the immaturity of 99% of 14-year-old boys.
My parents have said that I'm old enough to start dating, and I do like boys and would really like to go out on some fun dates. Do you think it would be wrong if I told some older guys that I'm 16 or 17? Like I said, I'm very mature, and it's pretty likely they would believe me. — All Grown Up, via email
ALL GROWN UP: Please don't rush things. In my opinion, you are still a year or two away from being old enough to date. But if and when you are allowed to date, under no circumstances should you lie about your age. Deceit leads far more often to disaster than to happiness. (And I truly doubt it ever leads to happiness.)
Eighteen-year-old boys do not want to be accused of dating an underage girl, so they will quite rightfully back off when they find out you're only 14. Try not to feel so alienated from your own age group. Take part in some group activities at your school, and start enjoying the companionship of your classmates — even a few of those "immature" boys you disparage. Since you are such a mature young woman, be a natural leader, and teach a few of the most reasonable of them to act more civilized. With a little luck, you may find a 14- or 15-year-old boy who can remain serious long enough to realize how nice of a person you are.
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.