Making a Difference

The Starfish Story
Adopted from “The Star Thrower” by Loren Eisley

One morning a man was walking along the seashore. He noticed that during the night many seashells and starfish had washed upon the beach. Thoroughly enjoying the morning sun and cool sea air, the man walked for miles.

As he strolled along, he noticed a small figure that seemed to be dancing in the distance. It made him chuckle to think of someone celebrating life in such an open and uninhibited way. As he drew closer, however, it became apparent to him that the figure was not dancing. Instead, she seemed to be repeatedly performing some type of ritual or action.
He drew nearer still and noticed that this small figure was a child. She was carefully picking up starfish and tossing them into the surf. He was puzzled and struck by the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish… many of them were sure to perish.

The man paused for a moment and then asked, “Why are you throwing these starfish?”
“It is high tide,” she replied, “If I leave them on the beach, the morning sun will soon dry them and they will die. I am throwing them into the ocean to save them – so they can live.” The man considered her naive actions, impressed with the child’s thoughtfulness. Then he motioned up and down the miles of the beach. “There are thousands of starfish along here,” he said, “You cannot possibly make a difference.”

The young girl stopped. With childlike wisdom the she politely listened to the man’s words. Her face darkened. She chewed thoughtfully on her lower lip, “You’re probably right,” she said softly. She looked down at the sand. Then she bent down, carefully picked up another starfish and threw it gently into the sea, far past the breaking waves. With a tone of gentle defiance, she said, “But I did make a difference for that one.”

Do you think you have the ability to make a difference as the little girl did in this story? Could the small things you do each day make a big difference? Sometimes we fail to realize the power that we have within ourselves to reach, stretch, grow, and support others along the way.
Remember that each and every one of us is here on this amazing earth to serve a purpose and to make a difference in the lives of those around us…not one individual is insignificant and no random acts of kindness are too small.
Is it possible that the little things you do could make a huge difference to someone else? Could that little bit of difference make all of the difference in the world? Do these small things determine who we are, who we will become, and what we stand for in this world?
Has anyone ever made a significant difference in your life without knowing the impact that he or she had on you? Many times we do not know the difference that we may have on the lives of another person (either positive or negative) – but you have to keep faith that even if in some small way, your efforts have made a positive difference. Keep in mind that having this perspective and approach to life will have a positive impact on your own life too.


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