Many years ago I heard this story, The Starfish Story, and originally thought it was a West Coast Indian folk tale and in the version I heard it was a story of the old man who was throwing the starfish into the sea. It has since become very popular and many versions of the same story exist ~ but I think it bears repeating.
The Stranded Starfish
Having spent many happy hours on our incredible West Coast beaches – when the tide goes out – thousands of purple starfish become stranded to lie in hot pools of sea water, or dry in the sun, and often become the dinner for squawking seagulls or bald eagles. Here is a shortened version of the original story :
The Starfish Story
(Original Story by: Loren Eisley)
One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed
a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.
Approaching the boy, he asked, What are you doing?
The youth replied, Throwing starfish back into the ocean.
The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don t throw them back, they ll die.
Son, the man said, don t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish?
You can't make a difference!
After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish,
and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said
I made a difference for that one.
You Can Make a Difference
This is such an encouraging poem and the last line says it all. One small act can make a difference and this applies to so many challenges and happenings in Life.
Next time you are discouraged or thinking you cannot make a difference ~ think of walking along the sea-shore at low tide, and remember to throw back the starfish!