Written by Brittany Green, Co-Owner of Encourage Your College Student and Girls Minister
I have several college students in my life: previous students and girls from church.
Each year as they go off to college, or as some start their Master’s degrees, I catch the thrill of starting college. It never fails that I question if I too should make a change.
The excitement of moving into a new dorm or apartment, the high intellect conversations, driving around small college towns in the middle of the night looking for the Waffle House, and the rush of a great college football game. College is fun. And it’s easy to look at their carefree lifestyle and pine for those days.
However, one thing I am grateful for as I reminisce on my college years is the people who were constant. I had so many roommate and friend changes for four years of my life. I am forever grateful for it. But sometimes it was the constants that made the biggest impact.
It was my parents, grandparents, and pastors that were consistent in reaching out to me during that time.
That’s where the impact came from. Lifelong friends are made in college, sure. However, that doesn’t discount the importance of family and mentors.
And so, as college students head back, I need to remind myself that God is faithful in the small things. He is pleased with our consistency. And while it may seem like an adventure to pick up and move like so many of these young adults, my role – and your role – in their lives is important.
During college, my grandmother consistently wrote me letters. She did this while I was growing up as well, but our pen pal relationship really took off in college. She would remind me that she was proud of me, that she was praying for me, and how things were going on the home front.
There was nothing better than heading to the student center to check the mail room – because let’s face it, sometimes we needed an outing in between studying and there wasn’t much to do in my small college town. About once a week or so I would have a letter waiting from my grandmother. I loved getting to hear about my granddad’s corn crop, what was going on with the family, news from their tiny church, or her thoughts on my letters in between. Those letters are a treasure that I will get to cherish long after she’s gone.
She would often tell me that she didn’t want to call and bother me, so she just sent a note. And I never thought her phone calls were a bother, but it is special to look back and have her written words. She would also tell me that she didn’t know what was helpful to me while in college, but would send a $5 bill so that I could “go to Sonic and get yourself a hamburger between your studies.”
I am so grateful for the way my grandmother and granddad consistently cared for me during college.
For those of you wondering how to still have a voice in your college student’s life, here’s some encouragement – be part of their lives.
Here are a few ways to do that:
Keep showing up.
Send a text or phone call. It’s easy to tell them to call when they can, but sometimes that puts too much pressure on your grandkid or even son and daughter. Just call and leave a voicemail. Or send a funny text.
Show up through letters.
Send a card. Write out what’s going on in your life. Or if words aren’t your thing, Hallmark writes good ones, so just use that! You can also send a comic strip or something (for those of you who still get the paper). Just send something tangible to let them know you’re thinking about them.
Pray for your grandkids.
Whether they’re walking with the Lord or taking a break, keep praying for them. Your prayers are powerful. Even if you never talk about your faith with them, this is a big way you can impact their lives.
Now that most of my grandparents are gone, I can’t tell you how grateful I am, that I can look back and see the faith legacy that I’m walking in. I only wish I could have seen that and talked about it with my grandparents who are now with Jesus.
Let them know your house is open.
How fun would it be to host your grandkid and a few of their college friends. This generation of college and high school kids loves the older generations. They would be thrilled to have a home-cooked meal and spend time away from campus. Open up your home if it’s possible for you to do.
Send them something fun!
College students love mail. Who doesn’t? It’s easy now to Amazon them a book you’re reading or some new gadget that might be helpful in their college dorm. Or bake some cookies and ship them. Even if they arrive in crumbs, they will make the perfect ice cream toppings.
Or let us help you send a fun box that will encourage them in their faith. Encourageyourcollegestudent.com can help your college student know that they’re cared about while also being extremely helpful.
Whatever you choose to do, be a consistent person in your grandchild’s life.
You don’t have to worry about raising them anymore, but your relationship is important and making an impact, whether they are sweet little babies or 35-year-old adults. You still have a voice.
So, while their world may change every few months, you have the honor and privilege of staying consistent.
Encourage your college student is a box designed to encourage your college student in their walk with Jesus. You can send a one-time box or up to four boxes a year.
Each box comes with a Christian book that meets the needs of a college student, Scripture memory cards, practical tips on how to thrive in college, stickers, lots of snacks, school supplies, and a fun item to use in their dorm room. You can also include a personalized note in each box letting them know you are praying for them.
If you don’t have a grandkid in college but would like to adopt a college student to help them pursue their faith, they can help you adopt a student that fits your criteria.
This ministry is the heart of two youth pastors in Texas who desire to see the next generation of students keep pursuing the things of the Lord. And their grandparents were instrumental for them in college.