A teacher in New York decided to honor each of her seniors in high school by
telling them the difference they each made.
Using a process developed by Helice Bridges of Del Mar, California, she
called each student to the front of the class, one at a time.
First she told them how the student made a difference to her and the class.
Then she presented each of them with a blue ribbon imprinted with gold
letters which read, “Who I Am Makes a Difference.”
Afterwards the teacher decided to do a class project to see what kind of
impact recognition would have on a community.
She gave each of the students three more 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 back 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 him with his career planning. He gave him a blue
ribbon and put it on his shirt.
Then he gave him two extra ribbons, and said, “We’re doing a class project on
recognition, and we’d like you to go out, find somebody to honor, give them a
blue ribbon, then give them the extra blue ribbon so they can acknowledge a
third person to keep this acknowledgment ceremony going. Then please
report back to me and tell me what happened.”
Later that day the junior executive went in to see his boss, who had been
noted, by the way, as being kind of a grouchy fellow. He sat his boss down
and 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 would he give him permission to put it
on him. His surprised boss said,”Well, sure.”
The junior executive took the blue ribbon and placed it right on his boss’s
jacket above his heart. As he gave him the last extra ribbon, he said,
“Would you do me a favor? Would you take this extra ribbon and pass it on by
honoring somebody else? The young boy who first gave me the ribbons is
doing a project in school and we want to keep this recognition ceremony
going and find out how it affects people.”
That night the boss came home to his 14-year-old son and sat him down. He
“The most incredible thing happened to me today. I was in my office and one
of the junior executives came in and told me he admired me and gave me a
blue ribbon for being a creative genius. Imagine. He thinks I’m a creative
“Then he put this blue ribbon that says Who I Am Makes A Difference on my
jacket above my heart. He gave me an extra ribbon and asked me to find
somebody else to honor.
As I was driving home tonight, I started thinking about whom I would honor
with this ribbon and I thought about you. I want to honor you.”
“My days are really hectic and when I come home I don’t pay a lot of attention
to you. Sometimes I scream at you for not getting good enough grades in
school and for your bedroom being a mess, but somehow tonight, I just
wanted to sit here and, well, just let you know that you do make a difference
Besides your mother, you are the most important person in my life. You’re a
great kid and I love you!”
The startled boy started to sob and sob, and he couldn’t stop crying. His
whole body shook.
He looked up at his father and said through his tears, “I was planning on
committing suicide tomorrow, Dad, because I didn’t think you loved me. Now I
don’t need to.”
— Helice Bridges — sent to me by my friend Jan Christianson
If you have anyone who means a lot to you, I encourage you to send them
this message and let them know.
You never know what kind of difference a little encouragement can make to a