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!