The Big Question |The Princess Diaries | The Good Samaritan

The Big Question

Dear Micah,

My girlfriend has been going with me for 3 years.  I want to propose but I want it to be special.  Since we’ve been together so long I know she’ll say yes, so for it to be something we’ll always remember, I need to ask in some memorable way.  I am dry on ideas.  Can you offer me any cool suggestions?


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Dear Mark,

First let me say that I think it’s cute that you think three years is a really long time. My brother dated his wife 12 years before they got married, and my mother got married last year after dating her husband for almost 30 years. Okay–maybe it’s just my family who has trouble making things official.  Anyway, congratulations on your journey, and I hope the marriage lasts a whole lot longer than what you deem to be a really long time.

When I read your question, several ideas immediately popped into my mind. The first one only works if you two are religious. Go online or to a religious bookstore and buy the most beautiful and ornate Bible you can find and wrap it up to give to her. When she asks what it is and what it’s for, tell her, “This is going to be our family Bible. In here, you will write the dates of the births of all of our children. Of course, first you have to write our wedding date in it, so I guess you have to marry me first.” Then present the ring and fall to one knee.

You could also have a wedding announcement printed up with both of your names on it and a date and mail it to her with a little note attached that says, “Will you marry me?” Imagine the excitement when she opens the mail and sees her own wedding announcement. Maybe you’ll even be lucky enough to be there when she opens the mail.

Another unique idea would be to make a puzzle out of the words “Will you marry me?”  I looked online and there seems to be a good puzzle-making site at http:///  It lets you choose the piece size so that you can make the pieces large, so it won’t take too long to put together.  I doubt she’ll feel like saying yes if she’s spent twenty minutes putting together a damn puzzle–but a quick three second puzzle will seem thoughtful, romantic, and special.

One last suggestion I’ll make is that you could always just ask her without any ceremony or special circumstances. True, it’d be nice if you could make the moment interesting, but regardless of what you do, it will always be memorable. Everyone remembers their first proposal. It may not be the last one either of you ever experience, but it’ll be the one you both remember the most. You can plan something special for weeks, but inevitably something is going to go off course a little bit, and it won’t go exactly as you’d hoped and planned. So, don’t build it up any bigger than it has to be.  Just take a deep breath and ask her.

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The Princess Diaries

Dear Micah,

My husband treats our daughter like a princess and has all of her life. I liked going with it when she was little. It was cute to dress her up and get her nails done. Now she’s 14 and starting to become a pain. She has an attitude and acts like the whole world revolves around her. She’s lost a good friend because of her attitude, too. At 14, is it too late to fix this and set her right or do I just have another entitled brat on my hands?


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Dear Mom,

I wish people would never start this silly Princess crap with their daughters. Playing dress up or having pretend time with a small child is one thing, but allowing the child to grow up feeling pampered and entitled just gives ger an unrealistic view of life, money, and other people’s fascination with her. There are already too many people floating around out there who truly believe they have a right to have everything they want and a right to do anything they want. At a certain point in life it becomes too late to teach a “Princess” (or “Prince” for that matter) to let go of her arrogant, self-indulgent point of view.

I know first-hand how difficult it can be as a parent to curtail your desire to give your child whatever they want, but somehow good parents manage to find a way so that their child will grow up to have a tolerable personality. Generally spoiled kids, or “Princes and Princesses,” tend to grow up to be pretty unlikable people. We all know the type. In places of business, they are the ones who do the least work yet squawk the most about how overworked they are. In circles of friends, they are the ones who always espouse the “I’ll always be there for you” sentiment, but they are never anywhere to be found when needed. And they usually have a string of failed romances behind them because their partners get fed up with everything being so one sided.

A Princess will consistently blame others for her own shortcomings and never take responsibility for what has gone wrong in her life. A Princess will imagine a thousand ways you’ve slighted her and confront you with each one while simultaneously deflecting any valid criticisms you may have of how she conducts herself. A Princess will always demand respect rather than command respect, and she will never grasp that respect is earned, not a birthright. A Princess will never fully stand on her own two feet because there is a cushy chair nearby she could sit in that Mommy and Daddy pay for.  You definitely do not want your daughter to grow up a “Princess.”

The good news is that at 14, it is not too late to save her  The first thing you must do is get Dad on board. Your struggle is going to be futile if he still insists on spoiling and coddling his precious princess. After he’s on board, then it all comes down to undoing the damage done so far. Your daughter has got to learn that the world isn’t as interested in her as she thinks. In fact, the rest of the world couldn’t care less about her; she’s just another face in the crowd. That’s the biggest problem you have to face in order to save her from a life of unhappiness–the idea that she is more important than she actually is to the rest of the world. Now, I’m not saying that you should break her self-esteem. We all need self esteem. But she has to understand that to other people, she doesn’t rate very high on the list of important things in their lives. It is imperative that she realize that if she wants to be important to other people, she must earn that rank with friendship, kindness of spirit, and empathy.  She must understand that she isn’t entitled to their admiration simply because she exists. Once she can comprehend that other people find themselves just as important as she finds herself, then she will be all right. Use the fact that she has already lost one good friend to teach the lesson. It’s not too late for your daughter to begin to place others on the same pedestal she places herself. It’s not too late for her to build a large network of friends whom she can lean on, depend on, and share her life with–as long as she is also there in the same way for them.

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The Good Samaritan

Dear Ask Micah,

My son’s girlfriend’s mom is dead and her father is an alcoholic.  That’s a good way to start a help question off, right? Anyway she is a really sweet girl, but her father’s drinking makes things hard on her at home. My son wants her to come live with our family. My husband and I are okay with it as long as they follow some ground rules, but we don’t know if it’s appropriate or not. We don’t want to set tongues wagging that will cause this girl more trouble than she already has. What do you think about our letting her come stay with us? Oh, my son and she are both 15 if that’s important.


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Dear M,

Don’t worry about wagging tongues. If you move this girl into your house those tongues are definitely going to wag, so let them. The only really important thing is that this girl be given an opportunity to live her school-age years in a peaceful and safe environment. If you are the only person who can provide that for her, then I think you should–providing you have covered the legalities and aren’t going to get into any troubles with her father, and providing you are not placing your own family at a disadvantage. You sound like a reasonable and generous person, so I think you can feel safe in trusting your gut, and your gut tells you this is the right thing to do.

You spoke of the “ground rules” you set for your son and his girlfriend. I imagine those rules concern your family’s view and position on sex and what is and is not appropriate under your roof. That is something that you and your husband must cover with them. They are teens with raging hormones, after all. However, I trust that you have that topic already covered with the kids.

My advice concerns a different aspect of this living arrangement. I’d like you to pull your son aside privately and have a talk with him about the ramifications of his life if his girlfriend moves in with the family. I think it’s important that he understand that although this girl is in real need of a safe and secure home life, and if she moves in with your family it can’t just be based on the fact that she is his girlfriend. In other words, he needs to view this arrangement as a permanent thing, regardless of where their relationship ends up. They are both young, and they both will probably become interested in other people down the line. It’s important that they feel safe to break up if they desire and it not affect the living arrangement. Her being welcome in your home cannot be hinged to their relationship, and he has to be able to accept this before she moves in. It isn’t healthy for either of them if any party thinks she has to stay your son’s girlfriend or otherwise become homeless. That’s just as stressful an environment as the one she’s leaving. Right now they are in love, but down the road they might not be. In a way, this living arrangement is going to place these two 15 year olds into a position similar to marriage.  You, as an adult, know how spouses can get on each other’s nerves at times.  Well, these kids are going to be together day and night, at home and at school–they are bound to have some spats. You and your husband have to be willing to let their relationship run its course and find its own way without your interference, just as you would if this girl lived across town.

You must find a balance between being a supportive friend to a girl in need and remaining loyal to your son. If problems arise, you must find a way to not take sides and to not cause the girl to feel alienated in the house, yet still let your son know that your love and devotion to him never waivers Can you do that if it occurs?  In many ways it’s like you are adopting this girl. You have to keep loving her and being her “adoptive mother” even if she isn’t his girlfriend any longer. And if they break up, can your son stop thinking of her as his ex and view her as more of an adopted sibling? This is the conversation you need to have with your son before you move this girl in with your family. If any of this seems like it could pose a problem, then don’t move her in. Maybe you have a friend or a sister who would be willing to take her in. That might be a less complicated option.

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