Wishing On A Starfish

starfishLast night I was cruising around the Internet to find something that would get my blogging juices flowing. Unfortunately, every item I clicked on was either a depressing news story or a sensationalistic account of something that isn’t newsworthy in the first place. (A controversy over basketball great Michael Jordan growing a Hitler mustache? Really?!?!)

Needing to center myself and remember that there’s good in the world if I only look in the right places, I went to Values.com to read a few inspiring quotes. This one in particular caught my eye.

“A little kindness from person to person is better than a vast love for all humankind.”

~ Richard Dehmel, (1863-1920); Poet, Playwright

The words made me recall a favorite story:

While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water.

He came closer still and called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

The old man smiled, and said, “I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.”

Here’s to all you Wise Women whose kindness (big and small) makes a difference – one person at a time.

And for those of you who aren’t feeling overly kind this week (and, Lord knows, we’ve ALL had those days), I wish that some one’s small act of kindness brings a smile to your face and to your heart.


  • ann Says:
    6-15-2010 08:46:15

    i really liked this. especially the richard demel quote. if we keep doing the little things perhaps something wonderful and unforseen will occur. and even if it doesn’t we and the recipients of random acts of kindness will feel oh so much better and will i am sure, pay it forward.

  • Annie Lynsen Says:
    6-15-2010 10:16:40

    I love that story. I first heard it when my boss told it to me as the inspiration for him starting his business, called Small Act. It’s founded on the idea that just one small act can make a big impact.

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