Dear Annie: My granddaughter "Rachel" is 14. Her parents raised her to attend church regularly. In the past year, however, they quit going to church and got divorced. My daughter was seeing a married man who left his wife and children and moved in with my daughter. What a mess.
Rachel asked me, "How can Mom be such a hypocrite? She taught me that sex is for a married couple, and without marriage, it's wrong. She tells me to not have sex with anyone till I am married. Why should I wait?"
It breaks my heart to see my daughter setting such a bad example for her children. What can I say? I take Rachel and her sister with me to church because they want to go. All I can do at this point is pray for the two broken marriages and broken families. — Heartbroken Granny
Dear Granny: Rachel seems to have a decent grasp of the situation. Her mother is a hypocrite. The lesson she needs to learn is forgiveness. People can make poor choices and create a great deal of damage and heartache through selfishness. They are human, and they make mistakes. Rachel doesn't need to condone her mother's behavior to understand the power of forgiveness. Please help her get there.
Dear Annie: I think public service announcements warning smokers of the risk of larynx cancer are good. If they make people stop smoking, they can save lives. But it would be nice if they mentioned at the end that smoking is not the only cause of larynx cancer. I have never used tobacco in any form, but I ended up with larynx cancer anyway and breathe through a hole in my neck.
When out in public, I have been told by strangers, "It's self-destructive idiots like you who make our health insurance so expensive" and "I see you got what you deserved," etc., etc.
At first I tried to explain, but I was called a liar. So now I just ignore them and keep walking. Any other suggestions? — Tom from Florida
Dear Tom: You are handling these obnoxiously rude people well by walking away. Unless you want to pass out flyers explaining the various causes of larynx cancer, there's not much more you can do. Their self-righteous attitude does not allow for compassion.
Dear Annie: I would like to respond to the letter from "Little Brother," the 13-year-old fatherless boy who thought he was in love with his older brother.
My dad died when I was 5, and my 17-year-old brother immediately stepped into the role of a surrogate father. He was loving, kind and affectionate and helped me navigate through my childhood and teenage years. When I was 12, I thought I had fallen in love with him. I even had dreams of being intimate. These thoughts scared and confused me.
I told my brother how I felt, and just like everything in my life, he helped me sort through my feelings and explained that they were a combination of the love we felt for each other and the effects of puberty. I remember him telling me that my thoughts would change as I matured. He was right.
Your advice was spot on, but I would have told "Little Brother" to talk directly to his brother. He sounds so much like mine. I am now 32 and married with two sons. My brother is still my hero and the first person I turn to for help and advice. He has never let me down. He was the best "Dad" anyone could have asked for. — Tim
Dear Tim: Your brother was uncommonly mature. You are fortunate that he continues to advise you with kindness and wisdom.
Annie's Snippet for Patriot Day (author unknown): Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; love leaves a memory no one can steal.
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.