The Blue Ribbon
A teacher in New York decided to honor each of her Seniors in high school
by telling them the difference they each 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 old 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 favour? Would
you take this extra one 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
said, "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
genius. 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 to me. 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 wouldn't stop crying. His
whole body shook. He looked up at his father and said through his tears,
Dad, earlier tonight I sat in my room and wrote a letter to you and Mom explaining
why I had killed myself and asking you to forgive me. I was going to commit
suicide tonight after you were asleep. I just didn't think that you cared
at all. The letter is upstairs. I don't think I need it after all."
His father walked upstairs and found a heart felt letter full of anguish
and pain. The envelope was addressed, "Mom and Dad." The boss went back to
work a changed man. He was no longer a grouch but made sure to let all his
employees know that they made a difference. The junior executive helped several
other young people with career planning and never forgot to let them know
that they made a difference in his life...one being the boss's son. And the
young boy and his classmates learned a valuable lesson.
Who you are DOES make a difference.
You are under no obligation to send this on to anyone... not to two people
or to two hundred. As far as I am concerned, you can delete it and move on
to the next message. If you want, you can send it to all of the people who
mean something to you, or send it to the one, two, or three people who mean
the most. Or just smile and know that someone thinks that you are important,
or you wouldn't have received this in the first place.
Remember that! I gave you a blue ribbon.