Making a Difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved all the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day he learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

The day of the tide he went down to the beach and began picking up stranded starfish and started tossing them back into the sea.

An elderly man who lived next door came to down to the beach to see what he was doing. “I’m saving the starfish,” the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish, he shook his head and said, “I’m sorry to disappoint you young man, but if you look down the beach one way, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look the other way, it’s the same. One boy like you isn’t going to make much of a difference.”

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up a starfish, tossed it back into the ocean and said, “I sure made a difference for that one.”


My source for this: a beautiful card with an ocean scene on the front. Starfish in the ocean, with a black border around the picture. On the back of the card it says: "Purchase of this card benefits Lifespring Foundation. Original painting by Scott Werner. Card & poster available from Northern Sun Merchandising, 2916 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN 55406 612-729-2001." I've owned the card for half a zillion years ... no recollection now of how I came by it!

'Quote of the day' used with this post: “Grace happens when we act with others on behalf of our world.” – Joanna Macy & Molly Young Brown in Coming Back to Life – Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World (New Society Publishers, 1998). ** this is absolutely true, btw. Been seeing it happen for 25 years or more... :)

Another quote: “I propose assaulting ourselves and others with compassion. I recommend heavy doses of creativity and courage. I advise doing something well beyond the cultural current of the main stream. At this point, what have you got to lose? Indeed, what have we got to lose?” – Guy McPherson in GOING DARK