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An unusual gift request

January 30, 2019

Dear Annie: I just received an invitation to a wedding that I’ve been told will be lavish. The woman is in her 50s, and the man is in his 60s, and they have been together for over a decade, so they have requested no gifts other than monetary contributions to their honeymoon. They have traveled extensively, including to the honeymoon destination. Is their request tacky, or am I just living in the past? -- Wondering

Dear Wondering: Though asking for cash gifts toward a honeymoon fund was once considered tacky, it’s becoming more and more common, especially among young people. Market research firm Harris Interactive found in 2018 that 72 percent of millennials prefer spending money on experiences to material things. Though your friends aren’t millennials, they are at a point in life when they most likely have all the household things they need. So instead, they’ve asked friends and family to contribute toward travel, something they’re both passionate about. That seems blameless enough to me.

As for their having already been to this destination and their being financially secure, lavish weddings have a way of setting people back a bit. I’m sure they would appreciate the help swinging a vacation at the moment, even if they don’t necessarily need it.

Dear Annie: I was a preschool teacher for 25 years. With all the terrible behaviors in the world, I’d like people to know that babies as young as 9 months can be taught to imitate sounds and actions, so let’s have them imitate politeness. Tell children to say please. Do it every chance you get and pretty soon they will echo it. It may come out as only “peas” because kids’ tongues and mouths aren’t ready to say blends (two consonants together) until a few years later. Tell them to say thank you, too -- for instance, whenever they get a cookie. Again, it may sound like “ank-oo,” but they know the meaning. Same with “excuse me.” If you bump them accidentally, say, “Excuse me.” They will imitate you.

Children can learn these courtesies before age 2 and use them for a lifetime. I was a teacher of those who learned these words at home and those who didn’t. Guess who started all the fights! -- Make the World a Better Place

Dear Make the World a Better Place: It’s never too early to start modeling good behavior for children. Thank you for this letter.

Dear Annie: This is in regard to the letter from “Stupid Senior,” who broke up with a cheater and soon after found out that she has HPV. You missed an important teaching moment in your response. Before becoming intimate, both parties should be checked for STDs and use condoms until they have agreed to be monogamous. -- K.F.

Dear K.F.: You’re right that I missed a teaching moment there. I appreciate your stepping up with the lesson.

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