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Ask Ellie: Story of childhood fall may persuade people to take care

I love this time of year with the beautiful autumn colours, but am I the only one who recognizes the safety issue of wet leaves on the ground? Every day after work I sweep the fallen leaves from the sidewalk in front of my house, my walkway and stairs. I’m so worried someone will slip and hurt themselves.

None of my neighbours do the same, and I’ve seen kids slip and fall. Luckily none of them have hurt themselves badly, but it’s only a matter of time.

How can I get other people to recognize the importance of clearing their leaves?

Felled by Fall

That’s very thoughtful and caring of you. And I understand that it stems from a fall you once had while carrying your young child and some groceries. That must have awoken you to the possible perils of slippery leaves.

When I was young, I was running in school, slid on some wet leaves, cracked my head on the door frame and needed stitches. Now I’m more aware and careful.

Not everyone will have the same feeling as you, but when chatting with people you could tell them your story and they may be moved to start paying more attention to clearing their leaves.

FEEDBACK Regarding the grandparents who don’t quite understand their gay grandson (Oct. 17):

“Good advice for the father whose parents are having problems adjusting to their gay grandson. As a gay man from a fundamentalist Christian background whose parents took a long time to come around (my mother never really did) it was truly gratifying to read about how much support the kid was getting from his family.

“When it comes to the grandparent’s odd comments and inappropriate questions, I would also recommend the man talk to his son. There will be many people his son will encounter who

will be less than welcoming to his orientation and he needs to be ready for that. How he reacts to this will be important. We can’t always do anything about how people behave but we can do something about how it affects us.

“Despite having his feelings hurt, he could respond to his grandparents in a loving way and try to educate them and bring them along on his journey. It’s a lot to hang on an eighth grader, but with humour and affection he may be able to bring them around.

“A big thing is that he is the same loving grandson he always was with a new facet that is completing the gem. There could be all sorts of reasons for why they are struggling with the recent reveal, find out what they might be.

“At least they still love him!”

FEEDBACK Regarding the teenage girl who came back changed from a camp experience (Oct. 18):

“As a parent and recently retired teacher, I heard alarm bells ringing loud and clear that this man’s daughter’s personality change may very well relate to sexual interference.

“Obviously someone else noted her physical changes on the trip and made advances. Surely this “Confused Dad” should be alerted to the possibility of any parent’s nightmare and urged to seek professional help for his daughter. Everyone should be aware of the signs of sexual abuse.”

Lisi – I don’t think it’s necessarily obvious that someone made unwanted advances, but unfortunately you could be right.

Reader’s Commentary “As a 78-year-old grandma of six grandchildren, how appreciative I am of your compassionate and common sense advice to perplexed people trying to sort out emotional conundrums that accompany all people today.

“Thank you for leading the way through the minefields of genuine individuating. There are no easy one-size fits-all solutions to any problem.”

My daughter needs a new bike. Hers is too small for her and slightly broken. But for some reason, she’s refusing and fighting me on it. I don’t get it. Why wouldn’t she want a brand-new bike?

Confused Dad

That’s a good question. Have you asked her?

Some kids don’t like change so are resistant; maybe she feels very comfortable on her bike and is concerned she won’t be able to ride a new one with as much confidence. Talk to her about it quietly one day. Don’t push her.

Once she’s comfortable with the idea of a new bike, get the other one fixed, and then give it to someone smaller than your daughter who will appreciate it. Assuming you live in the same climate as I do, maybe it’s worth waiting until the Spring to get her a new bike anyway.


Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: [email protected].