Friday, March 4, 2011

The Starfish Story

I love this story! I first heard of it from my dad, who is pretty much me in the form of an older male. We have the same goal- that is always to make a positive difference in someone's life, even if it's just one person. It doesn't matter what I end up doing in life- I could be a garbage collector and would be happy as long as I made a difference in someone's life. My goal and purpose for being here has always been to help others in any way I can (at least, I feel that is my purpose for being here).

This story is just a reminder that even if you make a difference for one person, that person could possibly make a difference in someone else's life just because of what you did for them. See the cycle? This reminds me of "Pay it Forward"- do something nice for someone, then they do something nice for someone, and so on. The cycle never ends! You should never think you're doing something in vain if you're selflessly working to serve someone else's needs :-)

adapted from The Star Thrower
by Loren Eiseley (1907 - 1977)

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."

What are your thoughts on this story? How does it feel for you when you make a difference in someone's life? Are you always working to make someone's life better?


  1. As a teacher, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this story. I've heard it before. It was our "training" in the school I worked in during '08-'09 in NC.

  2. I love it too! It really comes to life working with children.