Over the weekend, I was reminded of a story I had heard several years ago. There are different versions of the story, but the one I thought about had an old man and a little boy in it. It is “The Starfish Story.” I have included it at the bottom, in case you want to read it.
As Christians, we know that we can make a difference in the lives of others by sharing the good news of Christ and sharing the love of Christ with others. This is definitely one of our main responsibilities. However, there are other ways that we all can make a difference in this world. Many issues that come to mind seem too widespread or too insurmountable or overwhelming that we don’t think that one person could possibly make a difference. But, as we see in the story, this little boy made a difference one starfish at a time. He couldn’t save them all, but he saved as many as he could. I would like to change the ending of the story to show how an even greater impact could have been achieved. What if the old man started throwing starfish back into the ocean, and other people on the beach saw what was happening and joined in? Hundreds more starfish could have been saved, and it would have all started by the efforts of one little boy who wanted to make a difference.
You can be that one person to make a difference, but you have to take that first step. Find something that you are passionate about, and look for a way that you can help make a difference. The going may get tough, but you can’t let that stop you. You have to be truly committed. I like the saying – “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.” If you are passionate about tackling the literacy problem and helping students with their reading, writing, and spelling, consider partnering with The Augustine Literacy Project. I did in 2010. The Augustine Literacy Project, which has over 13 replication chapters and growing, has trained thousands of tutors who provide free literacy tutoring to disadvantaged students. Over the past 20+ years, the tutors have helped thousands of students get up to grade level. The home chapter is in Chapel Hill.
After I received my tutor training, I began tutoring one student twice a week. I few years later, I was tutoring two students and I started my own tutoring company where I tutor kids after school. In 2016, I started a nonprofit K-2 school, Gift of Knowledge Academy. Now I am able to make a difference in a lot of children’s lives.
I’ve learned that all of us can make a difference in the lives of others, and oftentimes, it doesn’t take much effort or much of our time. There are opportunities all around us to make a difference. How are you making a difference in the lives of others?
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The Starfish Story
Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he 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 man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?” The young boy 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. When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.” The old man 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 boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”