Writing Letters to Your Student

Dear PBA Sailfish Parents:

When I was a child, I remember often receiving a handwritten letter from my Grandpap. I don’t recall any profound words per say. But the tangible letter in the mailbox was always something I looked forward to receiving because it showed that my Grandpap “saw me” and remembered my name. My joyful expectancy was probably helped by the fact that he would often tape a silver quarter to the bottom of the letter!

You may not have a silver quarter to tape to a letter, but the following instructions will guide you and give you an opportunity to let your son and daughter know that you “see” them. Just as Jesus saw Nathaniel coming to Him (John 1.44-51), He sees you and your son or daughter.

You have words, poems and pictures in your heart to share. This is way to surprise your son/daughter with a handwritten note---written today, but mailed later.

I sometimes refer to this time as a Bethel moment or a marker day.  Technically a moment of liminality—a threshold and transition time. But most of all, it is simply a day in your ongoing journey when you dropped your student off at Palm Beach Atlantic University and entrusted them in even deeper ways into the care and hands of God who “sees” them and knows them by name.

PBA is blessed to have an amazing Parents Council and prayer network of parents. You as parents and caregivers are now becoming part of this longstanding tradition at PBA. Regardless of your present geography—either dropping your son or daughter off on site on campus….or virtually doing so….God knows. God sees. He sees you and your sons and daughters!

INSTRUCTIONS for Parents Prayer Letter Writing exercise:

  1. Write a short letter to your son or daughter.
  1. The letter is between you and your son/daughter. It will not be read by anyone else.
  1. There will be paper and pens available at the Parents table in the Warren Library.
  1. You are encouraged to write some thoughts NOW and leave the letter at the Parents table in the Warren Library. In writing, capture those fresh thoughts, emotions, a smile and ever perhaps a tear.
  1. Don’t worry about it being neat polished or even particularly profound. This is just a way to participate in the ancient art of letter writing and to bless your son/daughter with a surprise note when they least expect it! If at a loss for words, share a quote, memorable moment, Bible verse, draw a picture of a family memory, a poem that was memorable as they grew up, etc. Bottom line is to offer them some kind of encouraging word from your heart(s).
  1. Seal the envelope and write your son/daughter’s name clearly. Indicate their campus mailbox number (if known) and the residence hall name/room number.
  1. Now, in a short moment of reverence to God, envision yourself placing the letter at the altar steps in our DeSantis Family Chapel. Normally, you would do this in person, but this year—use your imagination! Let this be symbolic of your heart’s intent in entrusting your son/daughter ultimately to God and to His care and lovingkindness at PBA.
  1. If you are on campus, place the letter in the basket at the Parents table. They will be collected and placed in your student’s campus mailbox in a few weeks as a surprise.
  1. For those of you reading this online and not on campus in person, you are encouraged to write a letter TODAY and mail it directly to your son/daughter in a few weeks.

Thanks for participating in this letter writing PBA tradition which has impacted both parents and students over the years!

The prayers and words of encouragement we lay down now are some of the paver-stones upon which our students will walk in the days ahead!

Grace and peace,

Mark Kaprive

Director of Campus Ministries & CM Global

Instructor of Intercultural Studies