His mother was in the kitchen, taking cake out of the oven.
She smiled as she turned around but stopped when she saw his face. "Sammy, what
happened? Is everything okay?" "Nothing is okay, mom. Nothing will ever be okay
again." He stood in the middle of the kitchen as his mother came over to the kitchen
table. "Sounds like you had a rough day, Tyler. Is there anything I can do to help?"
"That's just the thing, Mom. We can't help. There's nothing we can do." He sat down
at the table and put his head in his hands. His mother sat down and waited a moment
until Sammy began to speak again.
"Today, in science, the teacher was talking about the environment.
we can save our earth when every person promises to do something to help take care of it.
Mrs. Green was telling us how many companies are not careful about how they get rid of
their industrial waste. She said that our world is getting dirtier and that many animals
and plants are dying. She wants us to think of something we can do to help and I thought
all the way home and there is nothing I can do. I can't stop the companies from polluting
our air and water and I can't save all of the animals! There is not anything that I can do
to make a difference."
His mother sat for a minute, thinking."You sound like this really
concerns you and that you have put a lot of thought into it, Sammy." Sammy nodded.
"Let me tell you a story that your grandfather told me. I don't know where he heard it,
but I think that it might help you think about your problem in a different way." She began,
"one morning a man was walking down a beach that was covered in dying starfish. The tide the
night before had been especially strong and thousands of starfish had been washed up on shore,
too far up for them to make it back into the water by themselves. The man shook his head as
he trudged along thinking what a shame it was that all of those starfish would die on the beach.
He came upon a boy who was throwing starfish back into the ocean as fast as he could. He was
out of breath and it was obvious that he had been at this task for a while. "Son," the man said,
"you might as well quit. There are thousands of them. They are washed up all over the beach as far
as you can see. There is no way you can make any sort of a difference." The boy did not even pause
in what he was doing. He kept bending and throwing but as he did, he spoke to the man,
"I can make a difference to this one, and this one, and this one." And the man thought, and he knew
the boy was right. He began to help return the animals to their home, smiling at how life's biggest
lessons sometimes came from the smallest people."
Sammy stared intently at his mother."But he did make a difference, didn't he? To every starfish
that he threw back in?" His mother nodded, smiling. He sat for a moment, thinking about what his mother had said.
"So, what it means is that even though I can't change everything, I can make a big difference by doing the little
things that matter?" "That," she said, sliding him the plate of brownies, "is exactly what I am saying." Sammy
grinned and took a brownie from the plate. "That gives me an idea." His mother smiled even bigger and said,
"I kind of thought that it might."
The next morning on the way to school, his feet hardly touched the ground. He told his teacher the story
of the starfish and his idea. Mrs. Green thought it was a great idea, and decided to let Sammy share the story and his idea
with the class. Everyone got to work immediately, cutting out the large green leaves.
The moral of the story is - "We all keep on thinking, and it becomes frustrating because we didn't think
that we could do anything. The problems seemed too big for us to do anything about them. But if we decide that together, even
the little things we do could add up to mean a lot to our world." "Even if it seems like something small, it will matter."