Life Lessons Graduation Gift Idea

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Our 17 year old daughter, Kara, is graduating from high school in a few months. She will be attending college about 5 hours away from home. I wanted to present her with a gift that will have meaning long after she moves into the dorm.

I have asked family, friends, teachers (including her kindergarten teacher), pastors, youth ministers, employers, camp counselors, etc. to write her a Life Lesson letter which will be placed in a binder and presented to her on Graduation day. I sent out 102 requests and have only had one person say no.

I have asked that each letter provide Kara with some tid-bit of wisdom that will assist her in making the right choices as she begins this new journey. Some of the letters I have received back are quite lengthy, while others are just a few sentences. But so far, all have provided encouragement and valuable insights, for a young lady about to embark on a such a new and exciting phase of life.

I created a "Form Letter", which I mailed and e-mailed to anyone who has been influential in Kara's life detailing my plan. I also provided a list of topics and a sample letter to jump start people's creativity. Topics included such themes as purity, integrity, study habits, friendship, faith, punctuality, creativity, etc. As this project is a secret. I made sure that everyone was aware of that too!


Each letter will be printed on high quality card stock and placed in a sheet protector and placed in a binder. I may sort the letters by topic or by friends, family, etc--depending on what is received. I may have a brass nameplate created and adhere to the front of the binder as well. You could also use a scrapbook for the letters and decorate each page as the theme of the letter dictates.

We plan on hosting a brunch prior to the graduation ceremony and the book will be available for the guests to view at that time. I know this Book will be cherished for many years to come and will be a tangible gift of how much she is loved and will provide her wisdom and guidance as she encounters problems and challenges in the future.

Source: Focus on the Family broadcast several years ago

By Diana from Prospect, KY

Update: Here is a sample of a letter from Kara's pastor. You can also download a PDF of the request letter and topic list that Diana sent out by clicking here.

As you graduate from high school, I get to share a few words with you about responsibilities. You've always handled them well. Be they youth group leadership roles or school activities - you're someone others can count on, and you've set good examples for your peers.

Always remember your number one responsibility - seek to grow in your relationship to Christ. It's and easy thing to talk about and ti's easy to let that priority slide. I know, I've been there (and sometimes still am). Reading the Scriptures and praying will protect you from making mistakes you may not be able to imagine making now. This is how and when you build your faith. You can't live on anyone else's faith on a college campus. Faith in Christ has to be your own.

Be accountable to God and other committed believers. You've been blessed by your parents' example. You know right from wrong. Pray about decisions that need to be made. Keep commitments. Let your "yes" be "yes" and your "no" be "no". Look to God's word and the Holy Spirit's directions for guidance.


There are many other responsibilities that we could get into, but Ill stop with this final thought - be financially responsible. No matter where the money comes from, it came from God first. Don't forget to tithe on your income. If you wait, this area will become more difficult. Don't use credit. Debt is a burden God didn't intend for you to bear. Pay bills on time. Your witness for Christ needs to be seen in all aspects of your life, including that of managing money.

I speak from experience when I say that all these areas are very important. If I had been better at practicing what I have shared with you, I would have enjoyed college more. College is great! It's fun to meet people and build relationships. Cherish this time of your life. Keep in touch and let us know your needs and what's happening. Remember our family loves you, is proud of you, and is praying for you .


Pastor Allen

April 21, 20090 found this helpful

I would so love a copy of of your form letter, I have a daughter graduating next year and I think this would mean alot to her. Not sure how we can coordinate but I'm willing to try.

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April 22, 20090 found this helpful

Could you post the feedback form? or email it? Thanks. mc

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April 22, 20090 found this helpful

What an awesome idea. I have a daughter graduating next year and I would love to do this. I would love to get a copy of your form letter. I wish I had heard of this when my other children were graduating. Thank you.

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April 22, 20090 found this helpful

What a great idea!! I have given the Dr. Suess book "Oh the places you will go" for graduation but for my own children I like the letter idea. Can we get copies of your sample letter and your "form" request letter? Thanks!

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April 22, 20090 found this helpful

I'd like a copy too please if you have it. Thanks

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April 22, 20090 found this helpful

Anyone who wants a copy of the letter

Please e-mail me at whimsiewear AT

I need to upload the documents! Thanks for your interest. Diana

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April 22, 20090 found this helpful

Don't forget humor. This is a great idea, I just think that young people need to remember to not laugh at...but laugh with people they will meet as adults. It does make a difference.

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April 23, 20090 found this helpful

What a beautiful and thoughtful gift and I'm sure Kara will treasure it the rest of her life!

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April 27, 20090 found this helpful

What a wonderful idea. She will appreciate this for years to come. Could I please have a copy of your form letter?

Editor's Note: We will be posting the form letter and some other information soon.

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August 12, 20090 found this helpful

How about a collage of pictures of the family, her friends and usual spots around town that she might miss while away. Also, if there is a store near her dorm that has one near you, you can get a gift card for her to use when she needs "stuff".

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