Conveying “The Blessing”


It is crucial to a student’s success as she embarks on the college journey, that she does so with the support of her family and community.  I refer to the transmission of this support as “Conveying the Blessing.”

Each student has “landmarks” in his journey that helped guide him to this pivotal point.  Each landmark often represents a person – family, friend, neighbor, or mentor — who took a sincere interest in helping guide his journey, and as such, each person has a vested interest in his success.

I believe it is essential to convey the Blessing both verbally and in writing.  The words of hope, encouragement, support and joy that make up the Blessing carry power such that they may make the difference between a successful first year and a mediocre one.  To be able to both hear and read these words provide students one of the most tangible foundations of trust I have seen in 25 years of work in higher education.

I know many students who, years after they have graduated, can quickly put their hands on their Blessing letter(s), written to them during the summer months before their first year.  These letters announce the belief and support of the family and friends in the student’s ability to begin this journey as well equipped as possible; equipped with the knowledge that she has the all the support and love she needs to be successful in what she chooses to do.

This letter need not be overly elaborate, emotional or ceremonial.  It is, ultimately, the intentional act of acknowledging this passage that is truly important.  You might consider presenting the letter during an activity or event that holds special significance to your student – a favorite meal or a memorable location.  On the other hand, you may find that giving it to her in the course of packing for the move to campus is all the significance you need. Either way, the tangible letter provides on-going evidence of your love and support.

Blessing letters might include words of…

  • hope and encouragement
  • excitement for the myriad possibilities that lie ahead for him
  • pride in her accomplishments
  • support for him in the path he chooses
  • trust in her ability to make wise decisions based in her own self-knowledge
  • blessing: spiritual, wisdom, family, community
  • celebration of her talent and potential

If you are willing to share a copy of your letter &/or your student’s response, I’d be glad to hear from you!  Please include your name & home state — thanks!


Author: Dane

Dane Anthony’s career in higher education spans 30 years on both public and private university campuses. In addition to serving as a faculty member, he has worked in the areas of Counseling, Residence Life & Housing, Student Health & Wellness, New Student & Parent Orientation, Parent Programming, and University Chaplaincy. Dane & his wife have 3 grown children and currently reside in Nashville, TN.

One thought on “Conveying “The Blessing””

  1. I still remember receiving the letter the day my parents left campus. It was Sunday afternoon and we were standing outside the Cafeteria. As they handed me the envelope, I saw the tears in the corners of their eyes. The same tears lined mine. I looked back at them, and gave them both one last hug, then yelled “Love you!” as they walked away.

    I reached back to pull the corner of the envelope. Inside were the most empowering words they had said to me since we had begun my journey to college. They believed in me, were excited for everything I would learn in the next four years. They knew I would be changing, and reminded me that we are all changing. Their encouragement struck me the most, they believed I could reach my dreams. By reminding me of who I was as their daughter, a person of faith, as an athlete, a passionate traveler, a lover of adventure — they reminded me of my values, and pushed me to keep those as I moved into this new time of growth.

    Their blessing that day meant so much to me, it empowered me to do my best, reminded me of who I was and who I was becoming, and gave me a deeper sense of who I could become in this new place.

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