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Bless the heart of the county commissioners, I think we all will come knocking on your doors when we receive our new...

Sense & Sensitivity: Party Host sending last-minute invitations

Harriette Cole

Harriette Cole

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am hosting a birthday party for myself. I kind of decided at the last minute. The party is coming together pretty well — probably because I have a lot of experience hosting events.

I just remembered a couple of people that I definitely should have invited but didn't. I just didn't think of them. The party is coming up soon. Do you think it's OK to call or email them to make a last-minute invitation? — Party Time

DEAR PARTY TIME: By all means, you should reach out to the people you have just remembered to invite them. Let them know that the party itself was a last-minute idea, and you have been working hard to pull it together. Be honest. Tell them that you inadvertently left their names off the list at first, but you wanted to make sure to personally extend an invitation. Let them know that you hope they can come.

Attempting to include them shows that you care. Also, if they hear stories from the party after the fact, they will know that they were invited.

** ** **

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have young children who are involved in the entertainment industry. My 10-year-old son is a dancer, and my 8-year-old daughter is an actor. We feel fortunate that both of them have gotten paying jobs already through their school and local productions. They have also met some influential people in the business who have offered to help get them to the next level.

I was already worried about what might happen to my children if they meet the wrong people, then I watched the HBO documentary "Leaving Neverland," about alleged sexual abuse by Michael Jackson. I had heard the stories and about the trial years ago, but this film was awful and so scary. I don't understand how these boys' mothers could have allowed them to go to "sleepovers" at Michael Jackson's house; he was a grown man.

I don't know what I might be missing when it comes to protecting my kids and allowing them to pursue their dreams. How do you know if your child is in harm's way? — Avoiding Child Sexual Abuse

DEAR AVOIDING CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE: That documentary was chilling. Whether or not the allegations those men made are true, a clear message that came from the film is the importance of parents being vigilant about what they allow their children to do. For stage parents, that includes making sure that your children always have an adult chaperone. This may mean that you have to take time off from work or hire someone you trust to be with your children when you are unable to be there.

For all parents, it is important to teach your children how to protect themselves. This includes giving them the language to discuss what they are experiencing. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most sexual abuse of children is perpetrated by people the children already know and trust. How can you get around that? By teaching your children the proper names of body parts, which parts are private, that it is inappropriate for others to touch their private parts, that they should keep no secrets from you and that they should speak up if anyone asks them to do something that makes them feel uncomfortable. For all who are reading this, experts recommend teaching your children about their body parts and their rights to their bodies from a young age so that they can stand up for themselves even in scary situations. For more ideas, go to: bit.ly/2XIZcCA.

** ** **

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been dying my hair for at least 10 years now. I went gray prematurely, but in my line of work, it is bad if I start looking older. It has been so busy of late that I haven't kept up my color appointments as well as I should have. The other day, one of my co-workers, who I think has a mean streak, called me out, saying he could see my roots. I ignored him and immediately scheduled a hair appointment. Should I have responded? — Peekaboo Gray

DEAR PEEKABOO GRAY: Ignoring your co-worker was the wise thing to do. Don't draw attention to the thing you want to cover. Ageism is real, even if it is technically illegal. If you feel like keeping your hair colored gives you job security, continue coloring it. You may want to put reminders in your calendar so that you don't go too long next time.

** ** **

DEAR HARRIETTE: I read your Feb. 26 answer to "Wayward Son" — about the reader whose son is coming home from prison — and I commend you on the wisdom of your answer. I worked in jails for over 20 years, and I have relatives who have been incarcerated. I know most find this difficult to talk about, so they go on alone and in pain.

This encouraged me to write a book, "Let None Walk Alone: A Guideline for the Families of the Incarcerated," by Sister Juanita Ujcik. I take the reader from the arrest through the courts, jail, prison and after care. I also offer suggestions for families — for themselves and for their incarcerated relative.

My years working in jails have shown me that all ages, education levels, races, religions, etc. are represented in the incarcerated population, so the book should appeal to a wide audience. — Supporting Families

DEAR SUPPORTING FAMILIES: Thank you for telling us about your book. As you know, incarceration touches many lives — far more than just those who are incarcerated. Families and communities are affected, and any support they can receive is welcome. I have looked at the information that you offer in your book, and I agree that it can help people who are trying to manage through this difficult period.

I get a lot of letters from people who are incarcerated. While I cannot answer them all, I do want to say to everyone reading that we must not forget our brothers and sisters who are in jail or prison. Many of them will be released at some point and attempt to rejoin society. We need to remember that all of us are humans with strengths and weaknesses. Our compassion and support can make a huge difference in their re-entry and in improving our society overall.

One request I get a lot is for reading material, especially to be sent to smaller prisons. I would encourage my readers to investigate what the rules are about book donations at your nearest jail or prison. The next time you are planning to get rid of books, consider donating them.

Harriette Cole is a lifestyle writer and author, nationally syndicated advice columnist and motivational, wife and mother. She founded Dream Leapers, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com.

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