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How big is One?

As a man walked a desolate beach one cold, gray morning he began to see another figure, far in the distance. Slowly the two approached each other, and he could make out a local native who kept leaning down, picking something up and throwing it out into the water. Time and again he hurled things into the ocean.

As the distance between them continued to narrow, the man could see that the native was picking up starfish that had been washed upon the beach and, one at a time, was throwing them back into the water.

Puzzled, the man approached the native and asked what he was doing. “I’m throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see, it’s low tide right now and all of these starfish have been washed up onto the shore. If I don’t throw them back into the sea, they’ll die up here from lack of oxygen.”

“But there must be thousands of starfish on this beach,” the man replied. “You can’t possibly get to all of them. There are just too many. And this same thing is probably happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down this coast. Can’t you see that you can’t possibly make a difference?”

The local native smiled, bent down and picked up another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea he replied, “Made a difference to that one!

Author Unknown

Each of us is but one person: limited, burdened with our own cares and responsibilities. We may feel there is so much to be done, and we have so little to give. We’re usually short of everything, especially time and money.

When we leave this shore, there will still be millions of starfish stranded on the beach. Maybe we can’t change the whole world, but there isn’t one of us who can’t help change one person’s whole world. One at a time. We can make a difference.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Cresencia Gayamat March 8, 2016, 10:37 am

    I seldom come across nice and reflective stories such as this. Thanks for featuring like the stories above. Your web page makes a lot of difference to people like me who wanted to live a good and fulfilled life. Mabuhay, to your column.

  • cathy morgan May 11, 2015, 6:10 am

    Wow!!! This was the touching story i’ve ever read in my whole life……amazing keep up the good work and may god blesss you!!! And keep writing stories that will catch everybody’s heart!!!!!!!!!

  • Ervin July 24, 2013, 3:35 pm


  • Sailaja July 17, 2013, 9:00 pm

    It is a lesson to all. Even if we want sometimes obstacles are there. But always obstructions are not present. Some work of difference can be done ignoring the hindrances.

  • Evans G Nzambu October 22, 2012, 4:09 pm

    So very true, doing good without expecting any reward is a virtue.

  • Ralph Jude (Nigeria) October 13, 2012, 12:55 am

    Missing this web page a day is like not having my lunch. More grease to your elbow. God bless.

  • Starfish October 8, 2012, 3:27 am

    Stephen… you are posting wonderful stories and you are touching people’s lives.. congratulations!!!

  • Noeme D. Catayas October 6, 2012, 10:01 pm

    No matter how insignificant a good act was done but for goodness’ sake it counts much in the eyes of God. A good deed will never ever go unrewarded. God bless everyone who dares to make a difference!

  • Akhilesh Sharma October 6, 2012, 4:07 am

    It definitely makes a difference to a person who is doing the job. One should have proper vision to find the difference!

  • Rita Borg October 5, 2012, 10:13 pm

    That is what I have done all my life. I don’t do much I do little but for that person it is a lot, every bit help.


  • P Vijayaraghavan October 5, 2012, 4:40 am

    Good story told interestingly depicting the need to act to make the difference than talk.

  • MAHENDRA PRASAD October 4, 2012, 9:30 pm

    It is a fact, one can make a difference. If every one of us try to do their best, let us all do even if it takes a lot of time.

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