Life Advice



Ask Amy: Retired teachers take on a grandchild

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My wife and I are retired teachers. We’re childless.

When 9-year-old “Jacob” asked me at church, “Can I call you Grandpa?” he filled a spot in our lives that had been empty.

That was nine years ago, and now Jacob is planning his university study.

Jacob’s parents immigrated with him from a formerly communist country where they both studied at universities.

In America, they have both worked hard, but their combined income is far below ours and they have no retirement savings.

When we pay for things for Jacob, they protest loudly that we do too much for him.


My wife and I are now wondering: how we can support Jacob’s university study without offending his parents’ pride?

We could give him enough to get through university without federal loans, but how can we persuade his parents to let us do that?

– Grandpa

Dear Grandpa: First, a shout-out to all of the de facto “grandparents” out there, who step up to engage in powerful and lasting relationships with young people they aren’t necessarily related to. “Jacob” sounds like a lucky young man.


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