Dear Amy:

My nephew, 11, sent me and a lot of other people an e-mail asking for money for a Christmas gift. He said he wants to raise money to attend a baseball-coaching clinic, and sent his request along with a link to the clinic's Web site so we could see what our money was purchasing.

Is this appropriate? If not, should I express my concern to his mother, to him, or to both?

When I was that age (I am now 67), I would not have dreamed of approaching my friends and relatives and asking so forthrightly for money, but perhaps times have changed. Or have they?

His mother had already notified me of his Christmas wish, and I was already going to contribute, so the e-mail caught me by surprise.

- James

Dear James: To clarify, you don't object to your nephew's request, but only to the fact that he sent an e-mail making the request personally.

Back in the day when you were this boy's age, a kid would have distributed paper fliers to family members asking them to kick in so he could go to band camp or buy uniforms for the Little League team.

No doubt the child would also have faced at least one crotchety family member who didn't want to be personally tapped for a contribution by a pushy kid.

I hate to break it to you, but in the current scenario, you are that crotchety guy.

I bet there are other family members who feel very different than you and who would have insisted to the boy's mother when she made the request, "If he wants money from me, he should ask me for it himself!"

If you must object to this solicitation, speak to his mother. He might have done this at her urging.