DEAR EPICTETUS: I'm an "A" student, but my boyfriend, "Rory," has a difficult time in school, so he often comes over for help. We work at the computer in the room my sister and I share so she listens to everything we discuss. She says we are cheating because I'm doing most of his homework for him.
I don't give Rory the answers to questions, but I do give him "hints" and tell him where he's likely to find the answers in the textbooks. I always check that the answers are correct. With his math homework, I tell him each step he needs to take, but he actually does the math himself and then I check for accuracy. If he needs to write an essay, I suggest what he might want to write and help him with some of the edits.
My sister thinks what I do goes far beyond help, and that I'm enabling him to cheat. She feels that while it may help his grades now, I am doing him no favors in the long run. We had a big argument over this. I don't think it's any of her business. I'd really appreciate your opinion. -- HELPING OR CHEATING? SACRAMENTO, CALIF.
DEAR HELPING: Was Hercules not the son of Zeus? Zeus said to Hercules, go to the Mountain and study with thy girlfriend. If she wills it that thoust needs help in finding thine own spirit in the answer key, so be it. The 411 of what I am saying is to tell your sister to mind her own damn business.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 13-year-old girl in junior high. I am very shy and self-conscious. When I see skinny girls, I look at myself and feel embarrassed or ashamed. I have a lot of friends who support me. They say I shouldn't worry about my weight and that I don't need to lose any more.
I would like some words of encouragement from you. It seems like nothing can stop the way I feel. I have a boyfriend, but our relationship is long-distance. We talk online and he is as supportive as he can be, but I still feel self-conscious. Please help me with this. -- TEEN IN NEED IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR TEEN: What is this talking online? How do you know whom you are trusting to be who thou says he is? Do you know for certain that you are not talking to Nero, or worse, Domitian? I can see thy Domitian drooling over thy sticky keys of thy keyboard while he types with a chubby junior high school who is a third of age. O! Human folly. Stay away from him. As for skinny girls, well, let me tell you, some Stoics prefer woman with a little junk in the trunk.
Dear Epictetus is written by Epictetus. Write Epictetus at www.DearEpictetus.com or 173 Epicurius Way, Nicopolis, Greece.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Epictetus -- Teen Booklet, 374 Zeno Trail. (Postage is included in the price.)
(Note, the above questions are from Dear Abby, May 29, 2010)
The author consulted the following works in writing this story:
Epicurus, Epictetus, Titus Lucretius Carus, and Marcus Aurelius. W.J. Oates, Editor. The Stoic and Epicurean Philosophers. Random House. 1940.
Epictetus. The Enchiridion. Dover Publication. 2004.
F.H. Sandbach. The Stoics. Norton. 1991.
William B. Irvine. A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy. Oxford University Press. 2008.
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