Thursday, May 2, 2013

How many "Starfish" have you tossed back into the ocean?

So tonight I went to DeLuca's Place in the Park to celebrate my wifes' 15 year anniversary at Mercy Regional Medical Center.  Prior to recognizing the employees, the MC shared a story some of you may be familiar with, the one regarding the starfish and the old man.

It goes something like this:

"An old man had a habit of early morning walks on the beach.  One day, after a storm, he saw a human figure in the distance moving like a dancer.  As he came closer he saw that it was a young woman and she was not dancing but was reaching down to the sand, picking up a starfish and very gently throwing them into the ocean. "Young lady," he asked, "Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" "The sun is up, and the tide is going out, and if I do not throw them in they will die." "But young lady, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it? You cannot possibly make a difference."  The young woman listened politely, paused and then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves, saying,

"It made a difference for that one."

It made a difference for that one.

Those of us in the business of helping children, teaching children or leading children are approached by "old men" similar to the one mentioned in this story every day.  They ask us why do we do what we do, why do we "waste our time", why do we sacrifice ourselves and put up with the bull and there's so many that need help how can you make a difference?

I say to those who resist our efforts and ask them how can we NOT help, how can we not make a difference.  We do make a difference, every day and sometimes to only one child at a time.  But for that one child, it may make all the difference in the world.

What "Starfish" will you gently toss back into the ocean tomorrow...

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