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Ask Amy: Grandparents worry about college pressure on granddaughter

Dear Amy: We have been fortunate enough to set aside money for our grandkids' college education. The first grandchild is graduating in June.

She has been hesitant about starting college next fall and is thinking about taking a gap year.

Her parents are anxious for her to attend a small private school and play softball, even though she will not receive a scholarship, although they are holding out the hope that she might get something if she enrolls and plays for one year.

Granddaughter seems daunted by the cost, which will certainly result in sizable student loans. She is an extremely good student, but she did not get any major scholarships.

My spouse and I know our financial gift does not give us a voice in choosing a school, or profession, but we'd like to find a way to advise our granddaughter to choose her own path and make her own decisions.

We think she should take a gap year if she wishes, forget about softball, except as recreation, and enroll in a community college or a state school to limit her debt.

We do not want to offend our son and daughter-in-law, who are wonderful people, but we believe they are a little unrealistic about sports and sports scholarships.

Can you offer any suggestions?

— Grandparents

Grandparents: Your contribution to your granddaughter’s education DOES give you a “voice.” It does not give you a “choice,” however.

You say you want her to choose her own path, and yet you do actually have a specific course in mind for her — and in my opinion, your ideas are practical and, most important, respect her right to ultimately forge her own future.

I played a sport in college (field hockey) and I assure you — unless your granddaughter is exceptionally talented and enrolled in a powerhouse school, this hoped-for sports scholarship money will be nominal, if it arrives at all. (I did receive a small sports scholarship, and was grateful for it, but it was a drop in the bucket.)

A gap year would enable her to earn money to put toward her education.

I think you should share your very reasonable thoughts with your granddaughter and her parents.

You should NOT offer any value judgment about her options to pursue her sport, however. She (and her folks) has already made a tremendous investment over the years in her athletic pursuit. Playing a sport at the college level can be a wonderful and enriching experience — regardless of any possible scholarship money attached to it.

This should be her choice, not her folks (or yours).

Dear Amy: A relative ("Matt") was recently reunited with his wife and young daughter after three months in intensive care and a double lung transplant as a result of coronavirus-related complications. While his progress is certainly to be celebrated, Matt has gone from a healthy and strong man to a much frailer version of himself. The long-term survival rate for his condition is not good.

Through this ordeal, Matt's wife has actively posted updates on social media, and one religious relative in particular has typically responded to any bit of hopeful news with some version of, "Wow, God is so good!" or "See? Prayer works!"

Amy, I find such comments to be in poor taste; for one, so many people have not been fortunate to survive this pandemic, despite, presumably, many of them and their families praying regularly. And two, if God is so good, then why would he let a devoted husband and father suffer so much?

I am tempted to write something to this effect in response, but as a nonbeliever I am not sure how (or if) to articulate this position.

Can you?

— Annoyed Nonbeliever

Annoyed Nonbeliever: “Matt’s” wife might be comforted by these prayerful posts.

Without weighing in on the much deeper spiritual issues raised here (the nature of suffering, etc.), here’s a response you might make to a “God is good” post:

“Surgeons: True miracle workers!”

Dear Amy: "Worried" told you that her fiance talked too much.

I can relate to this! I am a talker.

When I meet new people, their first reaction is that they like how friendly I am.

Six months later, they complain that I talk so much.

Kind of a no-win situation for me.

If Worried can't put up with this, she definitely shouldn't marry him. It won't get better.

— Talker

Talker: If you wanted to adjust your own impulses, you might make some strides with the help of a counselor.

2021 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency