“The Star Thrower” is part of a 16-page essay of the same name by Loren Eiseley, published in 1969 in The Unexpected Universe. I’m sure you are all familiar with at least one of its tellings. This one is by CityYear.org:
A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, 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 girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”
The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.
I had actually not seen that ending before, but loved it 🙂
The story is a good reminder of how small actions can have big effects. Even when an act of kindness does not have a big effect that we can see, it often has a ripple effect, as in this commercial (one of several I have seen):
It All Matters
The tricky thing about all this is that we never know when a single kind gesture will become a bigger group action, or when it might inspire others to be kind. It’s my belief that it all matters, and it all adds up 🙂 That the ripples are created whether we see them or not.
In the end, only kindness matters (to quote some lyrics by Jewel). I agree!