Q: My best friend just asked me to be her newborn son's legal guardian. I know she meant it as an honor, but I already have three kids, and taking on the responsibility for another child if something happens to my friend would push me over the edge. Can I say no? How?
A: None of us should accept obligations we don't feel we can meet, especially one as important as being responsible for a child. You not only can say no, you must say no, and how is simple: Just tell your friend the truth. She should understand and, in fact, be grateful.
— Jack Marshall, president, ProEthics
Given that this is your best friend, who obviously trusts you with her most precious possession, after you tell her you won't be able to accept, thank her for the honor and let her know you will continue to be a supportive friend who will love and cherish her son.
— Rudy Rasmus, pastor of St. John's United Methodist Church in Houston
It's not selfish to protect yourself. Can you ask her what she sees in you and then help her find those qualities in someone with fewer demands?
— Rushworth M. Kidder, founder of the Institute for Global Ethics
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From the September 2009 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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