Ask Amy: Grandson shows no appreciation for financial help my friends and I provided after a fire

Dear Amy: My 26-year-old grandchild “Sal” (and roommates) lost everything in a fire earlier this year. I reached out through Facebook to mourn their loss, and many of my friends responded by donating generously.

The (rather voluminous) check was made out to me. They instructed me to do it the way I thought best.

I contacted Sal and asked how I could get this money. The answer was that they would pick it up from their parents in the future and share it with roommates.

I know this young adult is in serious financial trouble right now, so I noted something to the effect that I knew Sal would probably be able to use the money sooner rather than later.

Sal’s response was: “Please don’t give me unsolicited financial advice again. I’ve been very busy with this gig and can’t help you set up Venmo. If you can cash the check and give it to my parents, I’ll pick it up from them sometime in the next few weeks.”

I replied (sarcastically) that I was sorry I had been offended, and that I could assure Sal that it would never happen again.

Sal replied, “Thanks!” (The sarcasm was clearly over their heads.)

I really don’t know what to do. I’m offended by the snappy, self-centered response; by its rudeness to anyone, especially a grandmother.

I put the money in my savings account.

I admit I am very angry. To make matters worse, Sal has never written a thank you email to any of my friends who have donated to these funds, despite me forwarding their email addresses.

Give me some guidance here. I hesitate between family duty and giving this young person a lesson they will not forget.

– Offended grandma

Dear grandma: You could play this in two ways: don’t respond at all and do nothing, and force “Sal” to contact you directly about the money.

The second response would be to create a short, warmly worded email (apart from the sarcasm): “You gave me many moments of pride as I watched you grow into an adult. This is not one of them. I know you’ve been through a lot, but there are times in life when it’s vital that you remember to treat others the way you want to be treated. This IS one of them. My friends and I got together and answered a need. If you know how to respond to this generosity with gratitude, I will be happy to send you these funds. I’d also like to donate it (with my friends’ permission) to your city’s fire and rescue. You decide. Always love, Grandma. PS: I’ve figured out how to use Venmo!” (It’s easy!)

Dear Amy: I am an educated woman, recently retired from a good profession.

After my retirement I was trained in another field: horticulture.

My husband, trained in mechanical problems, ignores any information or advice I give him to help him with “his” plants.

Why can I advise hundreds of gardeners a month but not my partner?

– Devoted Master Gardener

Dear devotee: The reason you can give welcome and valued advice to hundreds of gardeners each month is because you are not married to them.

Also – I assume the horticultural advice you give to strangers is solicited, in the sense that these other people subscribe, tune in or seek you out.

I have a Post-it note on my computer that says, “All unsolicited advice is self-interest.” It makes you feel good to help! It also speaks to your well-deserved expertise. But often people are given unsolicited advice as a spotlight on their own challenges and view this advice as tacit criticism.

If your husband asks for your help or advice, offer it. If he doesn’t ask, you’ll have to tolerate your own immense discomfort to see his mistakes wither on the vine.

Many people learn best by doing – and by stubbornly making their own mistakes. Gardening falls into its own learn-as-you-grow category (in my opinion), because the novice gardener’s blunders reveal themselves painfully slowly and often cannot be corrected until the following season.

Dear Amy: I have two words of advice for all empowering parents who contact you for advice: hard love!

– Robert

Dear Robert: Love doesn’t always have to be hard, but it can seem that way when people set reasonable boundaries and let their loved ones learn from going through their own struggles.

Checking out previous Ask Amy columns

(You can email Amy Dickinson at: [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or facebook

©2022 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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