The Starfish Story

This was the story we shared with the college students at English Camp. This story was told to me by my Daddy. You might have already heard it before but it has always been one of my favorites. I learned through this story that no matter what people think of you, stand alone anyway and do the right thing. YOU CAN make a difference! In the end, whatever you do, it will have a chain reaction.


A young boy was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When he came to each starfish, he would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched him with amusement. They were amazed. And would walk away shaking their heads thinking this little boy was crazy.

He had been doing this for some time when an older man finally approached him.

He said, “Little boy, 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 boy seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, he bent down, picked up another starfish, and looked at it for a while. He threw it back into the deep blue ocean as far as he could throw it.

Then he looked up at the old gentleman and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”

The old man looked at the boy inquisitively and thought about what he had done and just said. Inspired, he joined the little boy in throwing starfish back into the ocean. A few hours later others started joining, and all the starfish were saved.


I love this. We see that the boy wanted to make the difference but first he had to be the difference. That boy made a difference in those starfish’s lives, but also in that old man’s life, for he helped him see how we should help others or in this case – starfish. More importantly though, that boy’s life was changed for now he thought:

“Don’t be afraid of being different, be afraid of being like everyone else.”

*This is a picture of one of the students tagging his small group leaders, Alora and Levi, on Facebook. He carries his starfish with him to school as a reminder.

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