Graduations should come with a “Flash Flood Warning” for parents. There’s a flood of tears, fears, pride, and joyful and anxious memories that wash over a parent’s heart. It’s not uncommon to look at the graduate and think “Did I teach them, show them, prepare them, help them, and love them enough?” Well, it’s not too late. Writing a graduation letter is a great way to share encouragement and wisdom that can change your child’s life.[Tweet This]
It doesn’t really matter how young or old they are. There are more graduations than ever before as many elementary and middle schools now organize their own graduation ceremonies. Yet no matter their age, each ceremony is a unique opportunity for you to inspire and bless your child.
Writing notes to your kids, at any age, has been important in our family. Just like with the simple notes I described then, your child may not express immediate and profound enthusiasm for a graduation letter, but I’m confident it will impact their life and always be remembered.
I’ve been thinking of different ways to craft a meaningful graduation letter and have come up with a list of five ideas to write to your child listed below. You can pick one that best suits you or create a series of letters leading up to graduation. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It just needs to be honest and sincere.
1. Top 10 Memories: Make a top ten list of the favorite memories you have of your child’s life with you leading up to this milestone. Take your time. Search your memories, go through old family photos and videos, and make a list that shows you put some time in it. With each memory, tell why that memory is special to you. For example, “I’ll never forget when you spent days making that special Christmas gift for me. We both cried tears of joy when I opened it.”
2. What I Wish I Knew Then and Want You to Know Now: Make a list of the things you didn’t know when you were their age, but learned later, that could have helped you if you’d accepted those lessons earlier. This might be about career choices, relationships, finances, places to live, or people to do life with. If you’re comfortable, share some of your mistakes that came from not knowing these things.
3. The Traits in You I Most Admire: Create a list of several character qualities you see in them that you respect and cherish. It’s quite possible that they may be clueless about the good in them that you see. Others often see things in young people that they have not yet learned to see in themselves. This can really encourage and inspire them. For example, “You have developed a keen sense of empathy for others, and are able to pick up on people who are hurting or scared long before others do. I admire that.”
4. Year-By-Year Highlights: Go back through each year of their life or this phase of their education. Think about one or two things that happened to your family, or to them, that has defined the person they are. This will help them have a more complete perspective as they piece together their dreams and goals in life, knowing better those factors in life that shaped who they are. For example, “In your sixth-grade year, you got really sick and were in the hospital for a whole week. I now see how that inspired you to care for others when they are sick or hurting.”
5. Declare a Blessing: Write out a blessing. A blessing can take many forms, but usually, it involves recognizing what is valuable about a person, commemorating the blessing with some tangible symbol, and declaring a positive future you see for them. This is a complete sample message of a blessing that you can use to help you think through such a letter. And this might be a good one to even read aloud to your graduate at a gathering of family and friends.
What other ways have you crafted a meaningful message to your graduate, or what special messages do you recall receiving? Share your ideas below!