A young boy was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When he came to each starfish, he would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched him with amusement.
He had been doing this for some time when a man approached him and said, “Little boy, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
The boy seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, he bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he looked up at the man and replied,
“Well, I made a difference to that one!”
The old man looked at the boy inquisitively and thought about what he had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little boy in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.
- adapted from the Star Thrower by Loren C. Eiseley