“I can’t Grandpa, I just can’t.” I sat on the ground dejected as I recalled what happened that afternoon. In our school, there’s a special section for kids suffering from autism. The problem is, oftentimes other kids go there to pick on the helpless. They mock them, stone them and are generally very mean to them. Just because they’re different.

I wanted to stop the whole thing, but I was just one child among many. At best, I could only protect one at a time. But the continuous bullying made me sad and so I came to Grandpa, for advice as to what to do. He gave me a treasure instead.

“A man walked a desolate beach one cold, gray morning he began to see another figure, far in the distance. Slowly the two approached each other, and he could make out a local native
who kept leaning down, picking something up and throwing it
out into the water.

Time and again he hurled things into the ocean. As the distance between them continued to narrow, the man
could see that the native was picking up starfish that had been washed upon the beach and, one at a time, was throwing them back into the water.
Puzzled, the man approached the native and asked what he was

“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.”

“But there must be thousands of starfish on this beach,” the man
replied. “You can’t possibly get to all of them. There are just too many. And this same thing 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 another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea he replied, “Made a difference to that one!”

“Keep trying Ahmed.” He told me softly. “Keep trying. You may not be able to protect them all, but if you make a difference to just one, it’s okay.”


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