“Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said,
“It made a difference for that one.”
― Loren Eiseley
In the business of caring for children, especially those from hard places, it seems like the work never ends. There are so many children and I can only help a few in my home. While working in a therapeutic group home, I was part of helping more. Perhaps, the most rewarding experience during that time was helping parents prepare to bring their children home. When parents were open to working with us in transition and learning new ways to cope with stress and resulting behaviors, the future of the children was hopeful. It was during one of those transitions that I realized how much I enjoy helping families. I realized how much of a difference it makes when we use our gifts and pass them on. It is like ripples in the water. I may not be able to help all the children, but if something I write in a blog helps a mom make it through today; if I can help a family develop calming strategies for a dysregulated child; or if I speak words that make a child feel loved, I’ve made a difference to that one. . . and that one. . . and that one. . .