You may hear repeatedly, during these times of extreme anxiety and the unknown that each person staying home can save the world.
You may doubt the impact a single person can have to safeguard those we love, but in truth, never doubt the power one person can have to heal the world.
I find the following story appropriate. I hope you enjoy it as well.
One at a Time
“A man was walking on a Mexican beach at sunset. At a distance, he could see a native who kept leaning down, picking something up and throwing it out into the ocean. Once the man got closer, he noticed that the native was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time, he was throwing them back into the water.
What are you doing? the man asked. I am throwing the starfish back into the water. You see, it is low tide right now, and all of these starfish will soon die if I do not return them into the water, replied the native.
I understand my friend, said the man, But there must be thousands of them on this beach. You cannot possibly get to all of them. There are simply too many and don’t you realize this is probably happening on hundreds of beaches up and down this coast. Can’t you see you cannot possibly make a difference?
The local native smiled, bent down, and picked up yet another starfish, and as he threw it back into the ocean, he replied, Made a difference to that one.
Story from: Jack Canfield & Mark Hansen: Chicken Soup for the Soul.
No effort is too little. In life, there are many occasions when people may think, what is the use? My effort won’t matter; it cannot possibly make a difference!
Learn from the Mexican. Your effort does matter.
I was in Israel in July of 1995, and there had been a fire that destroyed two million trees.
The landscape was black and burnt. I was with a tour of 750 people from Canada and the US. It was decided that we should all buy one tree and plant it in the name of peace to help restore the significant loss.
Some people complained that we were so few that we could never make a difference, so why bother.
Surely 750 tourists would not be nearly enough to restore the loss. It would have been easier to give up even before we began. We could have adopted the mentality of the man on the beach who questioned the efforts of the Mexican helping the starfish.
It all began by planting one tree per person for $11.00 per tree at the time. In the excitement of making a difference, however small, we started planting more trees in honor of someone we cared about back home.
The total number of trees we planted was 2,500. Did it fix the loss of two million trees? —No.
Did it make a difference to those two million? Well, it made a difference for 2,500 of them.
Imagine for a second if everyone had the attitude of why bother since the effort of one person can’t possibly make a difference, what would happen in the world?
Fast forward to the year 2020, 25 years later, on my recent trip to Israel, now with my daughters. We visited the forest, and the loss of two million trees has been fully restored —it took one person, one tourist, one tree at a time. This goes to show you how each person can make a difference.
As we planted trees in honor of my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, I know her tree alone will make a difference.
One at a time —that is how great things are built.
It is no different for Israel, where no trees were given by nature. Every tree you see was planted by someone, like you and I. Once a desert land since its foundation in 1948, now enjoys a total of 240 million trees and 280 forests have been created.
It took one person, like the Mexican on the beach who cared enough, one starfish, one tree at a time.
Never doubt for a moment the difference that a single act of kindness can make.