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Originally published Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 6:16 AM

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Reader advice on family, fathers, flirts

Advice columnist Carolyn Hax’s readers offer their views while she is away.

Syndicated columnist


Dear Carolyn

While I’m away, readers give the advice.

On expecting others to rally to your cause:

Over a decade ago, my dear wife’s family started a tradition that could be a wonderful and inspiring tradition for others with a cause. The matriarch of my wife’s family was going blind and needed a cornea transplant in order to save her sight. Not having the funds, her extended family came together in a potluck reunion during which they auctioned items (to each other) created by each of thm. The money went to a well-known eye clinic in support their mother’s surgery.

Since that time, the families support charities through their yearly reunion auction: for wounded veterans, a Down syndrome network, and other causes. They are not well-off, but each year they donate more than $400. People would likely find support for their charities if family members were able to select their own cause’s financial support. This can unite families in a mutual interest, create a positive environment of giving and provide the joy of simply having fun together.

— Coming Together

On paternity leave arrangements that get fathers involved:

After the births of both of our children, my husband was able to work out an arrangement with his offices to take paternity leave by getting to work late and leaving early for about a month, instead of taking off one or two weeks completely.

This meant he was able to provide continuity at his job during the entire period, but could let me sleep in and relieve me in the afternoon. This was great help at a time when I was still tired and trying to establish nursing, and it made him feel necessary. He also was able to attach to our girls without being exhausted after a full day of work. I appreciated his employers’ ability to give him that flexibility.

— Grateful Mom

On choosing not to react when the spouse of a friend hits on you:

A close friend’s popular, charismatic husband “hit on me” decades ago. I laughed and acted as though I did not believe him when he started telling me all the sad parts of his marriage and acting too familiar with me verbally. He got nowhere, and I treated it like a big joke.

I acted naturally when I saw both of them later. He did, too. They had a long and happy marriage and seven children.

He died, and, to this day, she never knew how boorish he acted toward me. She and I are still close.

In retrospect, my treating it lightly took him off the hook, and harmed no one.

— Baton Rouge

On resisting events that make you the center of attention:

I’d like to offer a win-win solution to a shy woman who would rather not have wedding or baby showers: Advise people to throw the showers for the groom or father-to-be! Where are the parties for him? His parents’ friends would no doubt enjoy wishing well the little boy they’ve known and/or heard about since childhood as he embarks onnew challenges. In an era of ever-increasing gender equality, this is an idea that’s due. If he would rather opt out, that’s between him and the host — not the host and his wife.

— Oregon

Email Carolyn at and follow her on Facebook at Find her columns daily at

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