As many of you know, I grew up as an age-group swimmer and continued to swim in college at the University of Arkansas. What you may not know, however, is that my age-group coach continues to be a daily inspiration in my life. Yes … I am 51 years old now and my age-group swim coach is a daily inspiration. How? Well, he created an e-mail list for his swimmers and sends out daily inspirational messages. Yes, daily! He is currently participating in a push-up challenge and posts his progress on Facebook, sometimes with his grandchild on his back as he proceeds to complete his pushups for the day. He went out of his way to find out about and attend my dad’s funeral in July. Bottom line … he leads by example and that makes a difference.
In tribute to my coach, I am forwarding a story that he recently sent out. I guess it’s been around for a while, but I had never heard it. It inspired me, and I hope it will inspire you too. It’s called The Starfish Story.
A young boy walked along a stretch of beach skimming shells into the waves. The boy noticed the distant figure of an old man. Curious to see what the man was doing, he dropped his shells and ran through the sand.As he approached, the boy noticed the man repeatedly stooping to pick up objects and throw them beyond the breaking surf. The boy also noticed that the sand was strewn with thousands of starfish, washed ashore by the outgoing tide.The boy watched the man repeat his actions to return starfish to the cool waters before they became lifeless, baked by the noonday sun.
The boy spoke. “I see you throwing starfish into the ocean old man. Why are you doing that?”“To make a difference,” replied the man. “Surely,” said the boy, “with thousands of starfish all over the beach what possible difference could you make?”The man smiled knowingly as he reached for yet another starfish. As he tossed it far from the shore, he said,” It makes a difference to this one, son – it makes a difference to this one.’”The boy left the old man and thought about his words. As he walked along the beach, once again alone, he began picking up objects – tossing them into the sea. However, instead of sea shells this time, they were starfish. The boy was returning them to their home.He learned a powerful lesson that day. He discovered that he too could make a difference.
As you share this story with your family (hopefully you will), what better way to solidify the point than to bake some starfish cookies to go along with the story. Here is a fun, festive, easy recipe. Enjoy!!!