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Who You Are Makes A Difference

    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 


   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 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 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 

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