In his foreword to the book A Sacrifice of Praise, Larry Woiwode describes what happens to many young people who go off to college or university: their “faint faith” fades. In his case, it took about a decade before he found faith illuminating his life again.
Most of us have observed this same thing happening to young people we know; some of us have experienced it first-hand. It's a common enough experience, and sadly, not everyone returns to a life of faith.
If you have grandchildren who are going off to college or university, or beginning a career, don't underestimate the good influence you can have on them as they begin to make independent choices.
Specifically you can:
* Stay in touch. Of-the-moment communication like e-mail and texting is valuable, but so is a loving, old fashioned hand-written letter. It's a tangible reminder that you are thinking of your grandchild.
* Stay interested but not intrusive. Ask questions about what your grandchild thinks about what he is studying, or the people he is meeting. Keep up with what is happening on his campus.
* Supply her need. Think about what small gift might encourage her: homemade cookies in the mail? Something practical like a gift card to an office supply store? A coffee mug with her university's logo? If you can afford it, supply it.
* Pray specifically for him as he goes to class. Pray he will be discerning when he hears other world views. Pray he will be wise in dealing with non-believers. Pray for his safety, his studies, the choices and decisions he will make.