It's time for equal time -- time for the readers of this column to have the last word.
From Louisville, Ky., a letter came this month that began:
"Your recent article about leaving children home alone disturbed me a great deal.
"Isn't it bad enough that so many children are home alone all summer? Isn't it bad enough that so many children are home alone at night because their parents have business meetings, dinners, bridge games, bowling or whatever?
"Now you come along and encourage parents to trust their instincts in determining their child's ability to remain home alone for hours every day. Don't we have enough problems with children today without encouraging more parents to leave their children alone? . . ."
Also from Louisville, a veteran parent wrote: "Your topic 'A Parent's Pain Doesn't Have to Be Suffered Alone' really grabbed me. I have two grown sons, and some of their activities have been very trying to me, to say the least.
"You mentioned Al-Anon. I'm in two 12-step programs: Adult Children of Alcoholics and Overeaters Anonymous. These two groups are saving my life.
"There's another 12-step program that is terrific -- for parents especially -- and that's Families Anonymous or FA. I attended this for a while and it was very helpful. . . ."
And a Harrisburg, Pa., reader wrote: "After reading your excellent article on the problems of working mothers, I am convinced more than ever that the solution is support groups for working mothers.
"Several years ago I facilitated a support group for Mothers and Others. We met in a church for two hours of uninterrupted time one night a week while our little ones were cared for in the church nursery.
"Please urge people to form working-mother support groups that could meet one evening a week or on Saturday afternoon."
A reader in Bloomington, Ill., slapped my wrist, on the other hand. "I was disappointed to see the following words in a column of yours: '. . . if a subordinate dated someone to whom she reported directly . . .' " she wrote.
"The assumption that the female is the subordinate and the man is the superior belongs to a bygone era," she added.
From New Orleans, a reader wrote: "Your article in the Times-Picayune entitled 'Cover Letter a Foot in the Door' said, 'Even a bad letter is better than no letter at all.'
"I agree that sending a well-written cover letter with a resume is essential. But I do not agree that a bad letter is better than no letter at all. In my opinion, a poorly written letter can actually do you more harm than not sending one."
Finally, after a column about the importance of friendship, an Omaha, Neb., reader wrote: "About your recent article about women's friendships: I can testify to how important friendships are.
"In the last six months, I've developed a small support group of women friends who really care, offer their support and advice, and literally keep me going sometimes. Hurrah for friends!"
And an Orlando, Fla., woman echoed many of your letters when she wrote: "You described me to a T when you wrote about losing touch with one's friends. I've been too busy, too preoccupied, too wrapped up in my own life to stay in touch with mine.
"No more! I called my four closest friends the minute I finished reading your article, and suddenly I feel like a new woman! I may not have time for my women friends, but from now on, I'm going to make the time."