One person wants to parent relatives, another has let responsibility overrun human connections

Dear Candy,
I’m known as a trailblazer to the rest of my family, which is traditionally blue-collar, for being well-educated and working in a successful industry.

My elders are proud of me, especially my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

While my cousins, mostly my age, are proud, it hurts my heart to see them throw away opportunities on drugs, birthing out of wedlock and dropping out of school without a plan.

How do I set an example without policing them?

— Just Wanting to Help

Dear Just Wanting to Help,

While admirable and loving to want more opportunities for your cousins, it is not your role to parent them. As you said, they are mostly your age. People make choices and then have to live with them. It is the living with these consequences that form character.

We don’t know how the story will play out for your cousins. I would suggest you love them through their decisions and support them when you see positives coming from what they learn along the way. Focus on yourself and the decisions you are making. Let’s see what your journey will bring to you and what character is built along the way.

Good Luck, Candy

Dear Candy,

I’ve faced a lot of adversity this past year for taking out a lot of loans, graduating and working a full-time job in an effort to begin my career and adulthood as soon as possible. I’ve lost several close friends due to a lack of connection, even people I used to live with, and I get the feeling that some believe me to be arrogant for thinking long-term more than “in the now.” But what keeps me humble are the challenges I have to face every day, along with the memories of how far I’ve come.

How do I stress to others that with more blessings come more responsibility?

— Taking Responsibility

Dear Taking Responsibility,

Let’s talk about life balance. To live a happy, healthy life, you want to be able to take care of yourself financially, spiritually, physically and socially.

Look at yourself in terms of a pie. There are pieces in your pie that need to be attended to. You need the responsible piece, the fun piece, the connecting with others piece and the sacred piece. Sometimes a slice or two of your pie may change in proportion to the other slices, but the goal is to meet all your needs simultaneously.

Take a look at the percentages of these pieces of your pie. See what you can do to increase the play/fun part. You are too heavy in the responsibility portion.

Good Luck, Candy