A teacher in New York decided to honor each of her high school senior by telling them the difference each of them had made. She called each student to the front of the class one at a time. First, she told each of them how they had made a difference to her and the class. Then she presented each of them with a blue ribbon imprinted with the gold letters “Who I Am Makes a Difference.”
Afterward, the teacher decided to do a class project to see what kind of impact recognition would have on a community. She gave each student three more blue ribbons and instructed them to go out and spread this acknowledgment ceremony. Then they were to follow up on the results, see who honored whom and report to the class in about a week.
One of the boys in the class went to a junior executive in a nearby company and honored him for helping with the student’s career planning. He gave him a blue ribbon and put it on his shirt. Then he gave the executive two extra ribbons and said, “We’re doing a class project on recognition and we’d like for you to go out and find someone to honor and give that person a blue ribbon.”
Later that day, the junior executive went in to se his boss, who had a reputation of being kind of a grouchy guy. He told him that he deeply admired him for being a creative genius.
The boss seemed very surprised. The junior executive asked him if he would accept the gift of the blue ribbon and give him permission to pin it on his suit. His boss replied, “Well, sure.” So the junior executive took one of the blue ribbons and placed it on his boss’ jacket, above his heart. And then he asked while offering the last ribbon, “Would you take the extra ribbon and pass it on by honoring somebody else? The teenager who gave me these is doing a school project and we want to keep this ribbon ceremony going and see how it affects people.”
That night, the boss came home and at down with his fourteen-year-old son. He told him, “The most incredible thing happened to me today. I was in my office and one of my employees came in and told me he admired me. He gave mea blue ribbon for being a ‘creative genius.’ Imagine that! He thinks I’m a creative genius… Then he put a blue ribbon on me that says ‘Who I Am Makes a Difference.’ He gave me an extra ribbon and asked me to find someone else to honor.
“As I was driving home tonight, I started thinking about who I would honor with this ribbon and I thought of you. I want to honor you. My days are hectic and when I come home, I don’t pay a lot of attention to you… Sometimes I yell at you for not getting good enough grades or your messy bedroom.
“Somehow tonight, I just wanted to sit here and…just let you know that you do make a difference to me. Besides your mother, you are the most important person in my life. You’re a great kid. And I love you.”
The boy started to sob, his whole body shaking. He looked up at his father and said through his tears, “Dad… Earlier tonight I wrote a letter to you and Mom asking for your forgiveness. And explaining why I took my life. I was going to do it tonight after you were asleep. I honestly just did not think you cared at all. The letter is upstairs.”
Stunned, his father walked upstairs and found a heartfelt letter full of anguish. In that moment, he was a changed man. At work, the boss was no longer a grouch, telling everyone in his life how much they made a difference.
The junior executive helped many other people with career planning- one of whom was his boss’ son- and never forgot to let them know that they made a difference in his life.
To those reading this, you make a difference at LIFEonaire. We’re glad you’re a part of our team and I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you that.Tags: featured