Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Story of My Life
My favorite professor in graduate school gave our class this story. At the time I thought she wanted to inspire us. Now that I look back I realize it might have been more that she wanted to prepare us. Sometimes being a therapist is a thankless job. Rarely do people share their appreciation for you or do you get to see the results of your hard work. Often, if people are positively effected by your treatment, it happens long after you terminate with the client. And sometimes (or most of the time, depending on the week) the adversities you are trying to help people fight seem too powerful to overcome. I can only hope that I made a difference to at least one kid out there and changed their life's path for the better.
One At A Time
A friend of ours was walking down a deserted Mexican beach at sunset. As he walked along, he began to see another man in the distance. As he grew nearer, he noticed that the local native kept leaning down, picking something up and throwing it out into the water. Time and again he kept hurling things out into the ocean.
As our friend approached even closer, he noticed that the man was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at time, he was throwing them back into the water.
Our friend was puzzled. He approached the man and said, "Good evening, friend. I was wondering what you are doing."
"I'm throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see, it's low tide right now and all of these starfish have been washed up onto the shore. If I don't throw them back into the sea, they'll die up here from lack of oxygen."
"I understand," my friend replied, "but there must be thousands of starfish on this beach. You can't possibly get to all of them. There are simply too many. And don't you realize this is probably happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down this coast. Can't you see that you can't possibly make a difference?"
The local native smiled, bent down and picked up yet another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied, "made a difference to that one!"
By Jack Canfield and Mark V. Hansen
from Chicken Soup for the Soul