How to Make a Difference in a Child’s Life

I’ve seen the following message circulate over the years. As so many teachers and parents are spending the next few weeks preparing for another school year, I thought this would be a good time to share this wonderful reminder about what it really takes to make a difference in someone’s life.

Recall the following:

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
4. Name five people who have won a Nobel or Pulitzer prize.
5. Name the last half-dozen Academy Award winners for best actor (female and male).
6. Name five of the last decade’s World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is that none of us remembers the headliners of yesterday. Notice that these are not second-rate achievers. They’re the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Now, here is another quiz. See how you do on this one.

1. Name five teachers who aided your journey through your formal education.
2. Name five people who have helped you through difficult times.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Name five people who have prompted you to feel appreciated or special.
5. Name five people with whom you enjoy spending time.
6. Name five people whose experiences have inspired you.


Here’s the lesson: The people who make a difference in your life aren’t the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They’re the ones who care.

From this point forward, what are you going to do to show your students or children that you really care about them?