Dear Ann Landers: I am sending along a column of yours that appeared in the Dothan (Ala.) Eagle in December 1972. I have saved it for 26 years, but my copy is getting worn, and I can barely read it. I hope you will print it again, not just for me but for those who may have missed it the first time.
-- Slocomb, Ala.
Dear Slocomb: Any column that has been kept for 26 years and still sounds good has stood the test of time and deserves to be printed again. Here it is:
Dear Ann Landers: I teach the fourth grade. My pupils are 8 and 9 years old. The other day, I suggested a game. I asked my pupils to pretend they were Ann Landers giving advice to parents on how to raise children. I was amazed at their precocious wisdom. Here are some of the best suggestions for whatever use you wish to make of them.
-- Teacher in Wellesley, Mass.
Dear Teacher: From the mouths of babes can come pearls of wisdom. Thanks for a splendid example. Isn't the honesty of children refreshing? Here are the suggestions for successful child-rearing provided by your young students:
1. Don't give me everything I ask for. Sometimes I am just testing you to see how much I can get.
2. Don't always be giving orders. If you suggest something instead of giving a command, I will do it faster.
3. Don't keep changing your mind about what you want me to do. Make up your mind, and stick to it.
4. Keep promises, both good and bad. If you promise a reward, make sure you give it to me. If you promise a punishment, make sure I get that, too.
5. Don't compare me with anybody else, especially if the comparison will hurt somebody's feelings. I don't want to be considered smarter than somebody else, because it will hurt that person's feelings. If you make me out to be dumber than somebody else, then it will hurt my feelings.
6. Let me do as much for myself as I can. That's how I learn. If you do everything for me, I will never be able to do anything for myself.
7. Don't correct my mistakes in front of other people. Tell me how to improve when nobody is around.
8. Don't scream at me. It makes me scream back, and I don't want to be a screamer. Screamers sound awful.
9. Don't tell lies in front of me or ask me to tell lies to help you out. It makes me think less of you and less of myself, even if I am supposed to be doing you a favor.
10. When I do something wrong, don't try to get me to tell you why I did it. Sometimes I don't know why myself.
11. Don't pay too much attention to me when I say I have a stomachache. Playing sick can be a good way to get out of doing things I don't want to do or going places I don't want to go. Make sure it's real.
12. When you are wrong about something, admit it. It won't hurt my opinion of you. It will make it easier for me to admit it when I am wrong.
13. Treat me like you would treat a friend. Then I will be your friend, and you will be mine. Just because people are related does not mean they can't be polite and nice to each other.
Credit where it's due
Dear Readers: I recently printed some amusing anecdotes about problems marketers encountered when trying to create ad campaigns in other countries. I just learned this material came from the book "How the Cadillac Got Its Fins and Other Tales From the Annals of Business and Marketing" by Jack Mingo.