The story “Who You are Makes a Difference” by Helice Bridges, comes from the 1st book in the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series.
When I attended my first seminary, one of our fellow classmates gave each of us a bookmark that said, “Who You are Makes a Difference, Thanks for Making a Difference in My Life.” I was touched by this act of kindness.
I had a copy of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book at home and went back to re-visit the story:
A teacher in a NY school wanted to tell the students in her class how they the difference they made in her life and in the lives of each other. She called each student to the front of the class and presented each one with a ribbon that said, “Who You Are Makes a Difference.”
The teacher gave her students a challenge and extra ribbons. She encouraged them to go out into the community and pass on a ribbon; thanking each person for making a difference in her/his life. The teacher wanted feedback on how lives were impacted by this “pay it forward” method.
The students passed out the ribbons and a miracle happened.
A junior executive passed on one of the ribbons to his boss explaining the school project and how much he appreciated him. The boss was a grouch.
The executive told his boss he was a creative genius and then gave his boss an extra ribbon; asking him to pass it on.
When the boss got home that night, he sat his 14 year old son down and said, “The most amazing thing happened to me today” and he began to relay the story. He told his son, “As I was driving home, I was thinking about whom I wanted to give this ribbon to and I want to honor you.” The man went on to explain, “My days are hectic and when I come home I don’t pay a lot of attention to you. Sometimes I scream at you to get your homework done. You’re a great kid and I love you.”
The son cried and replied, “I was planning on committing suicide tomorrow, Dad, because I didn’t think you loved me. Now I don’t need to.” What a great story and its true!
Back in 2005, I handed out cards to all the members of our community that said, “Who You Are Makes a Difference, Thanks for Making a Difference in My Life.” I wanted to thank our church members for making difference and here’s why:
Our church was invited to participate in a local fundraising project for the holiday.
We set up a booth as vendors, selling various food items to raise money for our outreach ministry of “Helping One Family at a Time.” Individuals from the community were very generous.
God carefully choreographed the entire disbursement plan.
A few weeks after our venture, a woman I knew lost her husband in a tragic accident. There was no life insurance and she had no money. As a couple, they lived below the poverty line with no resources for funeral costs.
I immediately asked for assistance from our community on her behalf and the response was, “Yes, do it.” I was so proud to be part of this fine group and to be their pastor.
Ten years later, these fine people are still transforming lives.
Remember, “Who You are Makes a Difference and Thank you, for Making a Difference in My Life.” Amen!