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Friday, September 19, 2014

The Starfish Story

Hello again, Readers!

I hope each of you has had a wonderful week and your upcoming weekend is even better.

How many of you have heard “The Starfish Story?” I’ve seen this story many times, but I saw it again recently on someone’s Facebook page and it really resonated with me. It is adapted from “The Star Thrower” by Naturalist Loren Eiseley. It was first published in 1969. There are several versions used by motivational writers and speakers for the last thirty years.

Below are two versions that I’ve seen and like:



Whichever version you read the core of the story is the same. Each reader can come away with their own bit of inspiration.

Sometimes in our hectic lives we forget that we can have an impact on those around us. Do we want to have a small impact? Or perhaps a large impact? Or are we going through our lives, not worried about how our journey intersects with others?

What do I come away with?

·         Perform an act of kindness with no expectation of being noticed or rewarded—the Star Thrower wasn’t walking the beach waiting for someone to notice him or her. They performed a task without expecting someone to come along and pat them on the back. They performed this act of kindness for its own reward; that satisfying glow we get within ourselves when we know we’ve made a difference to someone or something.

·         Look at life from the perspective of others, whether they be human or animal or whatever—to the bystander it may seem like nature taking its course; the starfish washes up on the beach, only to die in the sun. Just because this event (the stranding of starfish) happens, doesn’t mean we can’t take time to make a difference. What if we can help that lone starfish? Does it take that much time out of our lives to gently pick up the creature and throw it back to the safety of the sea? Does it really cost us anything to help an individual that has fallen down on their own luck?

·         Don’t be quick to judge the actions of others—the Observer in this story made an immediate judgment that the Thrower was wasting their time. Who are we to judge the acts of kindness of others? Is the Thrower’s choice to help any less valuable whether we understand or agree? We don’t have to understand something to accept it.

·         Don’t let the daunting size of a task keep you from trying—the Thrower didn’t look at the beach and see the vast number of starfish as an impossible task. They could have thrown their hands up and said, “There are too many.” Instead, they did what they could. Even one saved starfish meant something, if to no one else but that particular starfish. Don’t be afraid of a large task just for its size. Break it down into smaller pieces if needed. Instead of viewing the miles of beaches ahead, view the five feet in front of you. Then move on to the next five-foot section.

What do you come away with?

Do you see points that I missed? Please feel free to leave a comment or suggestion. I would love to hear how others interpret “The Starfish Story.” Just click on the word Comment at the bottom of the posting.

Each person to leave a comment will go into September’s drawing!

Until next week, be kind to each other…and to yourself!

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