BLUE RIBBON DAY
This heart touching story ought to be inspiring to everyone, not just teachers and professors. In a sense, we are all teachers. But the question is, what are we teaching? What are we teaching our children? What are we teaching our spouses? What are we teaching our neighbors? What are we teaching our workmates? What are we teaching our fellow believers? When we find the answers to these questions, perhaps we can then find out what we are teaching ourselves.
As the report goes, 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 plan 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 they 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.”
Afterward, 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 blue ribbons and instructed them to go out and spread this Acknowledgment Ceremony around the community. Then they were to follow up on the results by noting who honored whom and report back to the class in 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 was known as being kind of an old grouchy fellow. He sat his boss down and he told him that he deeply admired him for being such 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 on his boss’s jacket just 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 the people who receive it.”
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 that, 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, son. My days are really hectic and when I come home I don’t take the time to pay much attention to you. Sometimes I scream at you for not getting good enough grades in school, or for your bedroom being in 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. Next to your mother, you are the most important person in my life. You’re a great kid and I love you!
The startled boy began to sob and sob, and he just couldn’t stop crying. His whole body shook. He looked up at his father and said through his tears, “Dad, you don’t know how important this blue ribbon is to me now. You see, I was planning on committing suicide tomorrow because I didn’t think you loved me. But now I don’t need to do that because I found out I am important to you!”
I wouldn’t say that Jesus had this in mind when He told His followers to do to others what they would like others to do to them. But I don’t think He would have rejected it either. But the one thing that I do believe is that when Jesus said that we are to love one another just as much as He loved us, that is more than a class project, that is a commandment.1 If Jesus were to visit you tonight and ask you if you have kept this commandment, what would your answer be? – Dr. Robert R Seyda
1 John 13:34