A gracEmail subscriber writes: ‘My daughter will soon be receiving her doctorate. I have been looking forward to this, feel proud of her and would like to attend and celebrate with her. However, she and her boyfriend recently started living together. That breaks my heart and I have repeatedly advised her to reconsider. I fear that attending her graduation will condone the situation and that her mother and I will be ashamed and humiliated by being there with her boyfriend. I would really appreciate your advice.

Boyfriends come and go but your daughter has only one set of parents. Attending this once-in-a-lifetime function properly honors your daughter’s hard work and perseverance. It also demonstrates that your love does not depend on her conduct but flows from the fact that she is your daughter. Such a demonstration imitates our heavenly Father who loves us because we are his children, even though we fail to meet his expectations and sometimes do not follow his guidance.

Assuming that you taught your daughter the same principles of chastity while she was growing up that she has decided not to follow at present, I see no reason for you or your wife to feel either shame or humiliation by attending. If you decide to boycott your daughter’s graduation, or attend it but fail to celebrate it with sincere pride in her achievement, you might later have good reason indeed to look back on that with shame.

If you would be uncomfortable sharing quarters with your daughter and her boyfriend, simply say that you and her mother “will be more comfortable” having your own sleeping space in hired lodging but will enjoy being with her during waking hours. Finally, I recommend that you not make any comment about her living arrangement during the visit in question, confident that such self-restraint then will enhance her receptivity to any future advice you might feel the need to give.

[Copyright 2010 by Edward Fudge. Permission hereby given to reproduce, reprint or forward this gracEmail, but only in its entirety, without change and without financial profit.]