Graduates: Practical Gifts of Influence, Inspiration, and Legacy-a guest post by Marilyn Nutter

Graduates: Practical Gifts of  Influence, Inspiration, and Legacy-a guest post by Marilyn Nutter
Marilyn Nutter, Author

 Welcome to Marilyn Nutter, my friend and today’s guest blogger. I know you’ll gain valuable ideas for blessing the graduate and others in your life with her ideas for practical gifts of influence, inspiration, and legacy.

Marilyn co-authored Destination Hope: A Travel Companion When Life Falls Apart with April White. This book offers hope in the life alterations and detours we all face. It’s a book I’ll read again and again.

Marilyn’s complete bio and a book link are below the post. You’ll love her website.                      

Graduates: Practical Gifts of Influence, Inspiration, and Legacy

I’ve witnessed graduations from kindergarten to college, and participated in hundreds of  ceremonies as a faculty member. While waiting for the commencement ceremony to begin, I reflect on my association with my students, flip through the program, and see names, now with a degree, remembering where they sat in my class. I look for those who received awards and check the program for speakers and singers. The sound of the entrance music, “Pomp and Circumstance,” always gave me a chill and sometimes, a tear. After the ceremony, students invited me to take pictures with them and we needed no prompt to smile.

My husband and I taught in a Christian university and college for over twenty-five years and were privileged to share in our students’ academic, social, and spiritual lives. One of the joys of social media is connecting with many students years later, and having a front row seat to their lives now—careers, family, ministry. I am often overwhelmed at how they reflect God’s purposes for them and their faithfulness to Him.

Today’s students face different struggles than twenty years ago. Headline news and personal experience speak for themselves. How can we bless today’s graduates as they face new challenges and changes? We may live miles from them and perhaps not able to stay connected in next weeks and months as they venture out into new and unfamiliar places–career, school, and new relationships.

Whether your graduate heads off to work, college, or graduate school, or you want to implement these ideas for your student now, may I suggest ways to invest?


Pray Scripture specifically. Find verses that are individually meaningful—trusting God, peer pressure, decisions, spiritual walk. Fill their name in Bible verses.

“I pray ‘God is able to make all grace abound to ________, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, _____ may have an abundance for every good deed.'” (2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV)

Source: 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV


If you have a child or grandchild heading off to college, begin a journal and include your thoughts and prayers for them. I began a journal for each of my grands when they were born. I share Scripture, experiences I had with them, and prayers. I plan to give it to them on their 21st birthday.


Without being a nuisance (and not expecting a reply), send a text, forward an inspiring quote, Bible verse, or share a humorous meme. Laughter is good medicine and may be exactly what they need today. Copy and paste social media memes to send. You can subscribe to daily Bible verses, receive them on your phone, and forward them to your child and grandchild.

Source: Proverbs 17:22 ESV


Buy a new Bible and write notes in the margins, circle phrases, and star passages with Scriptures that are important to you. Give the Bible to them when they start their new adventure. Who knows what they will find for any day when they flip through it?

One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.

Psalm 145:4 NIV

  Source: Psalm 145:4 NIV

Devotional book

Today’s generation reads online, but a good devotional book is priceless and may be valued in years to come. Is there one that uniquely fits your graduate in style, depth, and topics?

Though we’d love to hang on tightly and hold hands as we did that first day of kindergarten, we need to let go. From a distance—whatever separates us from our child, grandchild, or a student in our church–we reach heaven when our prayers and Scripture touch them. We can influence and inspire, and at the same time leave a legacy of what, in our hearts, has eternal value.

Which of Marilyn’s ideas would you select for blessing a graduate? Marilyn and I will be honored to pray for graduates you list in comments.

From a distance—whatever separates us from our child, grandchild, or a student in our church--we reach heaven when our prayers and Scripture touch them. Click To Tweet
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Marilyn Nutter, Author

Marilyn Nutter is a contributor to compilations, online sites, and print publications. Her book Destination Hope: A Travel Companion When Life Falls Apart, written with April White, offers hope in life alterations and detours. She is a facilitator for grief groups, a speaker, and a Bible study leader. Her family of eight grandchildren fills her cup to overflowing. In her life’s seasons, she clings to Lam. 3:22-23. Visit her website at where you’ll find words to give you hope and purpose and an opportunity to download prayers for graduates.

Destination Hope by Marilyn Nutter and April White

I highly recommend this book: Destination Hope: A Travel Companion When Life Falls Apart

Marilyn’s inspirational website: Marilyn Nutter’s website

Please feel free to share this post!

27 thoughts on “Graduates: Practical Gifts of Influence, Inspiration, and Legacy-a guest post by Marilyn Nutter

  1. Love this. My youngest is graduating this year and these suggestions are great. Thank you.

  2. Love these ideas. Thanks so much.

  3. So much to love about this post ladies. Great ideas, but the most inspiring part was how we can show our love even when distance separates us. I especially liked the idea of “don’t expect a response” note or text. I do that often with my extended and distanced family members; just to remind them they are loved, prayed for, and thought of. We all need to know that someone cares. Great suggestions Ms. Marilyn. Why am I not surprised. 🙂

  4. Love this! My son is graduating from high school and I love all the practical suggestions.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      I’m glad you found the ideas helpful, Sarah. Thanks for telling us. Marilyn speaks from wisdom, experience, and knowledge of God’s Word.

  5. Such great ideas! Love the journal one and the Bible. Thanks so much for your thoughts and intentional ways to bless graduates.

  6. Those are some great ideas, Marilyn. I love how your personalized them. Thank you!

  7. You’re welcome, Annie. I hope people will pass these on to file away for a future grad. Marilyn

  8. Commencement was my most favorite days of being a college professor. A day filled with happiness, pride, and hope for the future. Like you, I smiled a lot and shed some tears. I miss those days. Your message is right on target, Marilyn. Our graduates need our prayers and to know we are supporting them on this new journey. Thank you, Jeannie and Marilyn.

  9. Katherine, I identify with you and Marilyn about sharing treasured graduation memories with students. Whether I was teaching kindergarten or college, the music and memories promoted joy tears.

  10. Our younger generation needs all the help we can give. They do live in a more hostile environment than what our generation faced. Thanks, Marilyn, for your wonderful tips, and thank you, Jeannie, for hosting our friend. Blessings to you both!

  11. I’m honored to host Marilyn’s wise words. I agree, Barbara, the younger generation needs godly advice.

  12. I have a grandson graduating this year. I love these ideas! Thank you! God bless!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Nancy, I’m glad Marilyn’s ideas served as a blessing for you. I think it’s important to include the types of gifts she mentions.

  13. Our second grandchild will be graduating in a couple of weeks from high school. One thing his school was doing, was collecting letters, cards from family and important people in their life that would be given to the graduate at the ceremony. My husband and I each wrote a full page and tucked into a card with memories, encouragement, and scripture. Our hearts were poured into them. Thank you for the ideas. I am now planning on giving him a book. Money gifts may help but don’t last long. Books can have long lasting value.’

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Cathy, what a blessing your letters will be for years to come. And what a beautiful legacy you share to pass Scripture along to grandchildren. I’m glad the post encouraged you to include a book with your gifts. What a difference one book can make. Thanks for stopping by and sharing such meaningful comments.

  14. Post Author Jeannie Waters

    Thanks for sharing again, Marilyn. Such valuable insights.

  15. Post Author Jeannie Waters

    Marilyn, I love this guest post you shared on my site. Your suggestions are bound to bless graduates and provide more than just a gift. Thank you for helping those of us who enjoy giving presents and want to find a “just right” gift.

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