Starfish Story and the Courage to Continue
Once upon a time, there was an old woman who used to go to the ocean to do her writing. She had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before she began her work. Early one morning, she was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.
Off in the distance, the old woman noticed a small girl approaching. As the girl walked, she paused every so often and as she grew closer, the woman could see that she was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The girl came closer still and the woman called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young girl paused, looked up, and replied: “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”
The old woman replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
The girl bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”
adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1970)
“SUCCESS is not FINAL. FAILURE is not FATAL.
It is the courage to continue that counts”