A young boy walked along a stretch of beach skimming shells into the waves, The boy noticed the distant figure of an old man. Curious to see what, the man was doing, he dropped his shells and ran through the sand.
As he approached, the boy noticed the man repeatedly stooping to pick up objects and throw them beyond the breaking surf. The boy also noticed that the sand was strewn with thousands of starfish, washed ashore by the out going tide.
The boy watched the man repeat his actions to returning starfish to the cool waters before the became lifeless, baked by the noonday sun.
The boy spoke. “I see you throwing starfish into the ocean old man. Why are you doing that?”
“To make a difference,” replied the man.
‘Surely,” said the boy, with thousands of starfish all over the beach what possible difference could you make?”
The man smiled knowingly as he reached for yet another starfish. As he tossed it far from the shore, he said,”It makes a difference to this one, son – it makes a difference to this one.’
The boy left the old man and thought about his words. As he walked along the -beach, once again alone, he began picking up objects – tossing them into the sea. However, instead of sea shells this time, they were starfish. The boy was returning them to their home.
He learned a powerful lesson that day. He discovered that he too could make a difference.