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Ask Amy: Grandfather wonders about greeting children at a local school

Ask Amy: Grandfather wonders about greeting children at a local school

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Dear Amy: I’m a father and a grandfather to a 17-year-old grandson. I am his virtual instructor during the pandemic.

I coached children’s sports as my daughter grew up, and I’m currently a 27-year certified basketball official.

I say all of this to let you know I have a real love for children and want to always be a positive presence in their lives.

I walk each morning through my neighborhood.

My walk takes me past an elementary school, as children and their parents are walking to and from the school. I greet each person I pass with a simple, “Morning,” and continue my walk.

Some children are accompanied by their parents, others are not. I don’t stop or slow down — I merely smile and greet people as I walk by.

I give each child a wide berth, walking into the street to make sure they don’t feel threatened. Also, as a lifelong musician, whenever I see a child carrying a musical instrument, I make a simple remark such as, “Glad to see a fellow musician.”

The school guards always say hello, so I’m known in the area.

I wonder: Should I continue to speak to children without their parents present? In today’s climate, one never knows if a child, or parent, would feel threatened by a single man. I would absolutely hate to scare a child.

Any advice for a grandfather? Father and PawPaw

Dear PawPaw: Yes, please continue to greet children, whether or not they are with an adult.

I don’t think it’s appropriate to attempt to engage kids in extended conversations, since you’re a stranger, but you get to be the “Hello-guy” on your morning route, and that’s a beautiful thing.

Dear Readers: I recently ran a response from a reader named “Common Sense,” who stated that people who have had COVID-19 cannot become re-infected with the virus.

While I challenged this statement, saying “the jury is still out regarding how well — and how long — antibodies offer protection,” many readers strongly urged me to always point toward the science.

I completely agree. The CDC offers timely and frequently updated research and recommendations, which can outpace my publication schedule (

I hope that one day, if I repeat it often enough, readers such as “Common Sense” will exercise some common sense and follow the science.

Email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.



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