Monday, January 31, 2011

When you don't feel like you're doing enough...

It is the daily efforts, one by one, of caring people that turn into movements that end up changing the world. The recent events in Egypt didn't spring up over night even though it seems that way. There have been many voices connecting one by one to other voices, adding their messages to the collective consciousness until a tipping point is achieved.

So it is with the work we do. We are creating a movement toward a more conscously compassionate society that understands our responsibilities towards all youth, but especially those in less fortunate circumstances.

So, in another of the unending magical serendipities that we witness between mentors and mentees I receive this story from Ros, our mentor at Warner Bros. (who was featured in last Wednesday's blog as well). It serves as a reminder to all of us when we feel that our individual efforts are not enough.

"Zena told me one day about how she and her friends found a stranded starfish on the beach and saved it by throwing it back into the ocean. She was really pleased with herself and made a big deal of telling me about it. At Christmas I was telling my mum about the difference in Zena and what she wrote for me at Christmas about how I make such a big difference in her life. My mum then produced a card she had recently bought about making a difference and said I had to read it... I couldn’t believe what it was about (you’ll see!) so I...mounted it to make a card for Zena’s birthday. She was blown away by it and the coincidence."  This is what it said:

One day, as a wise man 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."

"Sometimes we feel like we are not doing enough. I think we can never do enough but I think this card shows that if you just help one person and that’s all you ever do, then at least it’s enough for that one person. Just look at how many people you’ve helped to make that difference!"

CEO/Founder, Youth Mentoring Connection

Make a difference.  Change Two Lives!  Become a mentor!


MentorForYouth said...

I absolutely love this story and it just brings home the fact that by helping just one person we really are making a difference. We may not be able to save the world, but we can start in our home and in our community. Thanks for a great post, I will be sure to bookmark it. There's more information about mentoring youth here if you're interested in more tips.

Anonymous said...

When you don't feel like you're doing donate your time. That's why I signed up with YMC, to help someone and change 2 lives :)