Dear Abby: Boy prefers Skyping, but grandparents stay offline

SHARE Dear Abby: Boy prefers Skyping, but grandparents stay offline

DEAR ABBY: My son “Travis,” age 9, is computer-savvy, but his “Luddite” grandparents (my in-laws) live far away from us and don’t even have internet access. They are no longer able to travel, and our finances prohibit frequent visits to them.

Travis could be Skyping them, and they could have a vital relationship through the miracle of modern technology. Instead, he will take their phone calls only occasionally, and enjoys the annual visit with them — but mainly because of the other relatives there.

If these were my parents (who are sadly long gone), I’d set them up on Skype and have them at least try. When his grandparents are no longer able to live on their own and move to assisted living, will that offer at least a hope of virtual connectivity? — MODERN MAN IN SAN DIEGO

DEAR MODERN MAN: By age 9, if your son isn’t interested in talking to his grandparents, and his grandparents make no effort to reach out, do not expect it to happen when he’s older and they go into assisted living.

Travis should be compelled to talk to his grandparents more often. If people want to connect, they usually somehow manage to do it through letters, phones, computers, etc. Over the last 20 years, many seniors have learned about computers and manage them quite well.

If your in-laws have a smartphone, they could talk to your son on video chat.

DEAR ABBY: I have been playing the piano for five years and I still enjoy it. But over the past year and a half, going for lessons every week and having to practice is getting old for me. In fact, I’m beginning to loathe it.

It’s not the teacher, it’s not my parents — it’s me. I’m just over all of the weekly lessons and having to REMEMBER to practice. My heart isn’t in it anymore. What do you think I should do? — RYAN IN MICHIGAN

DEAR RYAN: You should talk to your teacher about it. After five years of weekly lessons and diligent practice, you should have a pretty solid musical education by now. You may need to take a break, change teachers or even change instruments. Your teacher may have a broader perspective on this than you do, so take your guidance from the pro.

DEAR ABBY: I recently invited an acquaintance to be my guest at a play I’m directing and to the cast party afterward. I like this man, and he’s done me a number of favors, so the invitation was a sort of thank-you.

I haven’t heard one way or the other from the invitee. I don’t want to push and make the person uncomfortable, but I’d like to know whether he’s coming or not. Should I follow up with him or let it go? — NEEDS TO KNOW IN NEW YORK

DEAR NEEDS TO KNOW: By not responding to your invitation, the man is letting you know that it’s not high on his list of priorities.

Personally, I think you should let it go. And if he asks about the play just before it opens, tell him that you made other plans because you thought he wasn’t interested. Because you like him, say it nicely. But to leave you hanging is rude.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

The Latest
After a five-season fizzle since it went dancing for the first time, Northwestern is on the cusp of second place in the Big Ten.
A one-sided buck in a forest preserve, another expansion of wild turkeys in the suburbs, the world-record lake whitefish and Quint on bluegills and sharks are among the notes from around Chicago outdoors and beyond.
MLB outlawed extreme infield shifts, so will outfielders be used to circumvent the rule change?
What else were we going to ask about, the flavor of Sunday’s Gatorade baths?