The Starfish Story

I would like to share a story that inspires me and gives me strength.

 The Starfish Story - Author Unknown

A man was walking along the beach when he noticed a girl picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the girl, he asked, “What are you doing?”

The girl replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out.  If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

“Child,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!”

After listening politely, the girl bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf.  Then, smiling at the man, she said… ”I made a difference for that one,” and continued down the beach.

~ ~ ~

I recently found a YouTube video by Jostens of the Starfish Story.  Check it out below.

I have adopted the message from the story as my personal mantra. Anytime I am feeling like I am not making a difference, I remind myself of the Starfish Story.  I also have a framed starfish in my office to remind that I make a difference every day in the lives of children.

Have you used the Starfish Story in your work with students? Comment below, email metweet, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!

Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources.  Contact Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.


  1. I love that you shared this sweet Starfish Story. I had never heard it until I saw it on your blog a while back. I just returned from a family vacation to Florida, and the only thing I wanted to bring back was a starfish to put in my new office like you did. I not only brought one back for me, I also brought one back for my principal. I wanted to be inspired by looking at it, and hopefully inspire the teachers/staff at my school as well. I will be starting this school year as my first year to be a school counselor, and I am so excited to hopefully help as many little "starfish" as I can. Thanks again for sharing!

  2. Pam,

    I am so excited that you were touched by the starfish story like I was. That is so great that you brought one back from your family vacation for yourself and your principal. I have a starfish necklace that I wear often to remind me of the starfish story. Looking at my framed starfish or wearing my necklace provides me with encouragement when things are discouraging. Thanks so much for commenting. Your comment made my day! Have a great year as a new school counselor!!!!

  3. This is awesome! I am starting my first school year as counselor and I will share this with our teachers so they too can be inspired! This was great!!

  4. Thanks Tiffany! I am glad you are able to use this story as inspiration and to inspire others! Have a great first year of as a new school counselor!


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