The Starfish Story and making a difference

Photo by Jim Jackson via Pexels

I have linked to the Starfish Story previously, and it comes back to me often when I think of the ways people can make a difference to the world.

The Starfish Story tells of a child walking along a beach after a terrible storm which washed up thousands of starfish.  The child is throwing starfish back into the water, when someone admonishes the child that they cannot save them all, cannot really make a difference.  The child picks up another and replies, “I made a difference to that one”.

I love the Starfish Story, because it reminds me that just because an action is small doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile.  It reminds me that when the world’s problems seem huge and insurmountable, our efforts can mean everything to someone.  It also reminds me to ignore those who say I am wasting my time, and to focus on the realistic outcome of what I am doing.

It’s really hard to be faced with the Big Problems in the world at the moment.  Watching the news or hearing about bad things on social media can be quite draining, and we can end up asking ourselves what on earth we can do about any of it.  It’s easy to feel powerless and overwhelmed, especially if people around us also insist there is no point because we can’t change it.

But remember the starfish.  Not being able to fix everything doesn’t mean there isn’t important value in changing what you can. Maybe we can’t have everything we want, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t bother trying to make a difference at all.  I’m not just talking about changes we make to the world outside, this applies just as well to the changes we make to ourselves and our own lives.

Small differences add up, and can inspire those around us to believe in their capacity to make a difference.  Which starfish will you pick up today?