I think this is something that everyone should do, regardless of who coordinates it.
Parents- you could definitely do this over the summer and give to your child as she/he goes off to college or enters the “real world”
Graduates- you could send meaningful letters to people who have touched your life over the years. Chances are they’ll respond with a heartfelt letter in return… or you could ask for a letter to carry with you through your next chapter in life.
“Dear Carly, There have been people in your life who have watched you grow up and develop and become the person you are today. Here is a collection of notes from people far and near who know you, love you, get you. Happy graduation, Car. Go out and light the world on fire. Keep these letters close–reflect on them often– these are the people who will love you always. Love, Mom and Dad”
My mom made a list of all the important people in my life– literally since birth– and sent them postmarked envelopes with stationery ready to go. She asked them to share a memory, write advice, etc. [I kept seeing a million of the same white envelopes showing up in our mail slot, but I was still so surprised!!!!]
A list of people who sent me letters:
- The owner of my favorite store
- Babysitter from Atlanta (age 0-4) & Boston (age 4-8)
- Family friends
- High school coaches
- Parents of close friends
- Middle school SADD mentor
- Best friend’s mom
- My best friend in the entire world
- 6th grade math teacher
- The person who interviewed me for Georgetown <— how clever!!!
- My doctor
- Elementary school principal
- Super close friends
- AP Physics teacher (she saved my life one day, nbd)
- Painting teacher
- 9th grade English teacher
As I may have mentioned (I think I have) before, I have not exactly had the smoothest college career. Every time I felt upset, I would read the letters to make me feel better! I’m so glad my mom gave them to me because they really helped me get through tough times. One of my favorite ones– it’s from my ex-boyfriend… I love him, he is such a sweetheart. It takes a really strong person to put up with me: I’m crazy, remember? I didn’t so much as kiss the poor thing in the four months we dated.
“Carly, I’ve never quite met a girl like you. Yes, that is a good thing. Despite only knowing you since my senior year it feels like so much longer. I’ve seen you turn into a truly wonderful young lady and a real bitch of a coxswain. And, yes, that also is a good thing. Remember in college to keep your fists up, stick to your guns, and don’t let anybody change you. You’re already perfect to me. Take care in the year ahead, I know you’ll do great. If you ever need anything my phone is always on. I will always pick up….”
If you have a daughter graduating, you should really consider doing this for her. I love my letters and will keep them for the rest of my life.
I love these letters from the absolute bottom of my heart. They mean so much to me. Do you have something similar?