Odds are if you see me I will be wearing a starfish around my neck. No not a real star fish, but necklace with a small silver starfish hanging on the end. Starfish have a lot of meaning to me and it all stems from this story.
One day a middle aged, grumpy, business man decided to take a walk on the beach outside of his office building to clear his head. He had a long day in the office and nothing seemed to be going right for him.
On this particular day he noticed a human figure a ways down the beach. The figured appeared to be dancing along the beach.
As the business man grew closer he realized that it was a young girl on the shore and she was not dancing at all. The young girl was bending over to pick up starfish and then was throwing them back into the ocean.
To the man’s surprise the beach was covered with thousands and thousands of starfish. He couldn’t fathom why the young girl was taking the time to throw them back into the ocean one by one.
The man said to the young girl, “Why are you throwing the star fish back into the ocean. You see there are so many star fish that you will never ever be able to save them all.”
The young girl simply responded to the man by throwing another starfish into the ocean. She quietly said, “I just saved that one.” She then picked up another starfish and said, “I just made a difference to that one.”
This is a story that was told at the end of every week when I was a camper at the 4-H Camp in Madrid, Iowa. This camp and this story hold a special place in my heart. As the counselors told this story around the camp fire they handed out a small safety pin with a star shaped bead on it. We were told to give this pin to one person that had made a difference in our week, no matter how large or small.
Everybody could use an attitude like this young girl. It is important to stop and think why we are here sometimes. We were all put on this earth to make a difference and live out our purpose. No, I’m not saying that we are not all expected to cure cancer, invent the latest technology, or find a solution for world hunger, but we can make a difference even if it is just to one person. If everybody makes a difference to somebody it will start a chain reaction… a chain of kindness.