The Keri Anne DeMott Foundation
The Starfish Story
Once upon a time there was an old man who used to go the ocean for peace and quiet, and for inspiration to do his writing. In the morning, he usually walked on the beach before he began his work. one day as he was walking along the shore, he saw a human figure moving lie a dancer, bending, then wading in to the waves, arms extended.
It pleased him that someone would dance to the beauty of the day and the rhythm of the waves. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young girl. The girl wasn't dancing, but instead she was reaching down to the sand, picking up something, and throwing it gently into the ocean.
He called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?"
The girl paused and replied, "Throwing starfish into the ocean."
"I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?"
"The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll be stranded on the beach and die."
"But don't you realize that there are thousands of miles of beach and starfish all along the way. You can't possibly make a difference!"
The girl listened and considered. Then she bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea. She watched a wave lift it high, and then it sank into the life-giving water.
To that she replied:
"It made a difference for that one."