Who was the most influential person in your life growing up? It may have been a teacher that took you under their wing, or the youth leader at your church. Maybe it was a kind neighbor or a close family friend who came to mind. These people change our lives without realizing it. They supported us and wanted us to succeed in life. They cared about our hopes and dreams in a way that others just…didn’t. Sure, mom and dad wanted us to be good people and have happy lives, but this one other person helped us in ways that maybe mom and dad couldn’t. For many people that person was a teacher in New York…that they would never, ever meet.
A Teacher in New York decided to honor her senior students in High School 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 them how they made a difference to her and the class.
Then she present them each with a blue ribbon imprinted in gold “Who I am makes a difference.”
Afterwards, the teacher decided to do a class project, to see what recognition would have in the community.
She gave each student three more ribbons, and instructed them to go out and spread this acknowledgement ceremony. Then they were to follow up on results and see who honored who, and report to class in about a week.
One of boys in the class went to a nearby company and gave the ribbon to a junior executive for helping him to plan his career. He gave him a blue ribbon & put it on his shirt.
He then gave him 2 more ribbons and told him they were doing a class project on recognition and asked him to go out and find someone to honor and give them the blue ribbon.
Later that day the junior executive when into his bosses office who had kind of a reputation of being a grouchy individual. He told him he deeply admired his creative genius.
The boss seemed very surprised and he asked if he would accept this gift of the ribbon and allow him to pin it on him.
His boss said well sure. The junior executive placed it on his shirt right by his heart.
Then he asked offering him the last blue ribbon, “Would you take this last blue ribbon and pass it on to honor someone? The teenager who gave me these ribbons is involved in a class project and we want to keep this ceremony to see how it affects people in the community.”
That night the boss came home and sat down with his 14 year old son. He said, “the most incredible thing happened to me today. I was in my office and one of my employees came in and told me what a creative genius I am and he gave me these ribbons. Imagine, he thinks I am a creative genius, then he put a blue ribbon on me that says ‘Who I am makes a difference.’
He gave me this ribbon and asked me to find someone else to honor. As I was driving home to night I was thinking about who to honor with this ribbon I was thinking about you. I want to honor you with this ribbon.
My days are hectic when I come home I don’t pay much attention to you. I yell at you for not getting good enough grades and for your messy bedroom.
Somehow tonight I just wanted to sit here with you and tell you do make a difference to me. You and your mother are the most important to me. You’re a great kid and I love you.”
The boy started to sob and he could not stop and his body was shaking.
The boy stood up and looked at his dad and through his tears. He said, “Dad, earlier tonight I sat up in my room and wrote a letter to you and mom explain why I took my life and asked you to forgive me.
I was going to commit suicide after you were asleep. I just didn’t think you cared at all.
The letter is upstairs I don’t think I am going to need it after all.”
Although this boy would never meet her, and she would never find out just how much she impacted his life, her actions resonated farther than she could have ever imagined. Stories like these give us hope to keep on doing good deeds, trying to help others, and following our instincts. Helping those in need might save more than just one person. Like the ribbons, a good deed will keep on giving. 🙂
To see more inspiring articles and uplifting content, check out Happy Tango every day! If you loved what you saw here then like and share this with the links below!