DEAR ABBY: I attend a small church with two of my grandchildren, ages 5 and 10. About 90 percent of the time they are the only children there. They are very active in the church and are the bell ringers, candle lighters and offering collectors. They partake in the welcoming and special prayers, lead the Pledge of Allegiance, sing songs and do communion when we have it.
I allow them to bring their iPads to occupy them during the sermon - on silent, of course. I feel that because they participate so much in all other areas and because the "adult" sermon is usually over their heads, there is no harm done. My sister, however, insists it is rude and disrespectful. She is constantly getting after them, telling them to put their iPads away and pay attention.
None of the other church members have a problem with it, not even the pastor. What do you think? Should they be able to continue to keep occupied and not be disruptive to others, or should they power them down?
- Keeping the Peace in Missouri
DEAR KEEPING THE PEACE: Right now those children are active, engaged and enthusiastic about participating in the services. I see nothing to be gained by forcing them to listen to a sermon they can neither relate to nor understand. Because the pastor and other church members have no objection to what your grandchildren are doing on their iPads, the person who should "power down" is your sister.
DEAR ABBY: I'd like to know why they still call ex-presidents "president"? For example, President Clinton or President Bush. They clearly are not president any longer.
- Just Wondering in Eugene, Ore.
DEAR JUST WONDERING: True. However, this is a courtesy, a gesture of respect extended to individuals for their public service. Included in this category are retired former presidents, senators, governors, mayors and high-ranking military officers.