Dear Annie: I am in the sixth grade, and other kids make fun of me. Last week, I didn’t go to school because I had a headache. I’m sure it’s stress and it’s making me afraid and affecting my schoolwork.
It started in the first grade. I don’t know why, but they “just felt like it.” Last year was the worst of my life. The kids called me (get ready for a list) fat, stupid, idiot, dumb, worthless, that I am not fit to live and so many other things, I lost count.
One of those girls said in front of the only two friends I have, “Wow, you finally got some friends in what? Five years?” I thought I would just curl up and die. But my friends said they didn’t care what anyone said.
My mom works long hours and always comes home tired, so I don’t want to burden her with what is happening at school. I am 11 and don’t think I can take it much longer. Please help. — Stressed Out in Texas
Dear Stressed: These classmates are bullying you, and you have the right to make it stop. Talk to your mother. She needs to know. Then both of you should talk to the principal and school counselor. (If your mother cannot go with you, do it by yourself.) You are obviously a smart girl, and we can sense a great deal of strength inside. You also have two loyal friends who will stand by you, so please do this, not only for yourself, but for other girls who are being bullied. You can get more information and suggestions through stopbullyingnow.com and bullyonline.org.
Dear Annie: One of my mother’s main goals in life was to instill good, solid religious values in her children. This is an admirable thing. The problem is the way she carried out this goal. It was nothing short of stifling.
I cannot recall any single thing in my life that turned me off to religion more than my mother’s efforts. Why can’t parents realize that shoving religion down the throats of their children will only make them want to run from it?
After much counseling, I am now able to say that my faith is strong, but it is in spite of my mother, not because of her. — Religiously Scarred
Dear Scarred: The best way to instill religious values in one’s children is to set a good example at home and let them see that you live what you preach. Forcing religion on a child invariably creates a backlash, as you have so astutely pointed out. Wise parents know that children are more drawn to what provides comfort and a sense of belonging.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “This Violet Is Blue,” whose husband plans to be buried next to his first wife. I wanted to pass along a suggestion, since this is also a concern of mine.
My husband also has two crypts, one of which his first wife is now buried in. I did not want to be left out in the cold either, so here is what we decided to do. When my husband dies, his body will be put in the crypt next to his first wife. When I die, I will be cremated and my ashes will be put inside my husband’s coffin. This way, my husband is near his first wife and she is not alone, and my remains will be in the same coffin with my husband so we will be together.
I am content with this solution and hope your reader will be, too. — Feeling Better in Sarasota
Dear Sarasota: Although you are content to be in your husband’s coffin, next to his first wife, this is not a feasible option for all spouses. Many suggested the husband be cremated as a way to be in two places at the same time.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 12.27.07