You Made a Difference For That One

By Danelle Day

He who passively accepts evil
is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.
He who accepts evil without protesting against it
is really cooperating with it.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Any time we speak out about the atrocities facing babies around us, we may face some backlash from those who refuse to acknowledge the damage they do to little ones by parenting in a detached, unprotective, or unloving manner. This may come in many forms - genital cutting being one, or simple refusal to learn why love matters. We cannot save all the babies and children (and future adults and society) out there from the pains and heartache and developmental problems that result from non-peaceful parenting. But whenever we share accurate information, whenever we speak up, whenever we defend those who do not yet have a voice for themselves and cannot yet defend themselves, we DO empower and equip and enable parents to make wise, conscious choices. And it is for this *one* who listens and invests in their innate mothering or fathering instincts that we continue to do the work we do.

Today, as I have been unable to save a newborn baby from the trauma that is genital mutilation in the United States, I encourage you to not become discouraged in your own work toward a healthier, happier, wiser, more peaceful world. Every single one makes a difference. And through each of YOU lives are changed every moment, of every day.

So don't be silent. And don't be discouraged.

Be brave. Be bold. Be smart. Be gentle.

And go love your little ones like you've never loved before! Because each one matters.

The Star Thrower by anthropologist and writer, Loren Eiseley (1907-1977)

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he 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 will 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."

Note: This is a true story that Eiseley wrote about. He was the 'wise man' walking the beach before his morning writing session. He encountered this young man throwing starfish back into the ocean and was forever impacted by the experience. His story is told in many forms, in many places - but rarely is credit given to Eiseley as the original author and subject of the narrative.


  1. So many of us in the position that you were in today, where we were unable to spare *one* from unnecessary trauma (in all its various forms) wind up despairing and becoming depressed or let down. Thank you for remaining hopeful and for choosing to pass on a message of inspiration rather than a rant. It serves as a reminder to all of us not only to remember the *one* that we are helping but to also 'vent' hope in the face of challenges.

  2. I've done that before - thrown star fish back into the ocean. I've saved crabs from my dad's trap too because I thought he caught too many and that they would go to waste for nothing. But I don't as easily give myself a break for not being able to help every baby or mother I encounter who needs it, and whom I haven't been able to help. Thanks for this. It really made a difference.

  3. So true! I tell that to my friends who say they didn't know how to discuss circumcision, because the subject made them "uncomfortable." Overcome it! Throw that starfish in!

  4. The Navarro Family2/21/2012 12:53 AM

    thank you for that beautiful and compelling post. It's good to be reminded that even though we can't help everyone we do make a difference with every person we reach.


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