This has no category into which it seems to fit, so I'm posting it here. It is, I suppose, positive, and perhaps encouraging, but only in a curious way. I will try to show mercy, and keep it brief. Due to a series of events, including a death and other circumstances beyond my control, my small business recently lost all its help. Since it all coincided with the 2009 crash, business suddenly came to a standstill, so it made no sense to hire even one new person full time. It wasn't long, however, before I got talked into hiring, just for occasional help, a 17 year old home schooled girl. Being a married man in my 50's, I entered into this with considerable reluctance, but at the time I did need additional help, and she lived nearby. Then it wasn't long before her sister started working for me. Then word got around, and other girls thought the work sounded interesting, so when one of the sisters went off to college, I started occasionally employing other girls. Mind you, I have tried to employ some boys, but none of them have shown lasting interest in the work, and have drifted off. When summer came this year, all the girls who have worked for me in the past wanted to work this summer. That would have been a crew of six or seven, ages 17-22. I have ended up employing "only" three of them full time this summer. The work is unusual in itself, involving lots of woodworking, and lots of work in churches and universities. This means I have to travel some, even doing overnight trips, to accomplish the work. All the girls are believers, so often, particularly if it's just two of us, the conversation turns to spiritual matters, and, of course, girls of this age want to talk about boys, marriage, dating, etc. For hours at a time, we'll talk about such subjects, me trying to offer occasional advice when it seems they might be veering off the rails, either emotionally or theologically. Never having had a daughter, it has been a sometimes terrifying experience, because once girls of this age get comfortable and open up, they tend to tell me anything and everything. Of course, it just as often is endearingly hilarious, and many an evening I come home with so many funny stories that my wife and I laugh until we are nearly sick, as I recount some of the funny, off-the-wall anecdotes. I never sought this out, and for a full year, I found it pretty scary. One fear was lack of conversation: what on earth could we talk about? It has turned out that, without exception, the problem has been getting us to shut up long enough to concentrate on the work and get something done. As my wife has said, though, when she was 18, the idea of traveling around with, and working with, a 50 year old man was singularly unappealing and kind of creepy. I concur. When we are traveling and stop to eat somewhere, we usually have animated conversation over lunch or dinner, laughing and talking non-stop, until the inevitable question comes from a waitress, "So, is this your daughter?" When I reply, "No," I can always see that look in their eye, "Oh-creepy old man". At this point, all the girls say I should either just lie about it ("Yes! This is my lovely daughter!"), or respond with something totally inappropriate ("Well, not as far as I know"). So it has become an old joke by now. Worse than the fear of lack of conversation, though, has been the underlying fear that I am doing something which risks great moral hazard and is just totally inappropriate. Yet, all the parents have been encouraging, and seem to have no qualms about it at all. I find that totally weird. My friends, both believers and non-believers, seem to fall into two camps about all this: 1) It seems a little odd, but it's great that it's working out; 2) This is highly scandalous and I think you should stop right now. Oddly, many of the non-believers fall into the latter camp. My attempts at getting some counsel from any clergy who will listen, including my own pastor, has so far resulted in a blank stare. After three years, I've sort of given up. My only fear now is that I haven't a clue how to handle it if something actually did happen. What if one of the girls were to develop a crush on me, for instance? Would I even realize it? One of my closest friends thinks I might be too clueless to recognize the signs until they became extremely obvious. She might be right. However, I try to keep in touch with the parents a lot, at least during the first 6 months to a year. Thankfully, email makes this quite easy. Well, there is lots more to say about all this, but it has gotten too long already. Hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend. But, anyone who has ever been in a remotely similar situation, I would appreciate any feedback. Theo von H.