I can never give credit to all that is wrong. The spotlight belongs to those who make right.


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’ll 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.”

I am a long ways away from ever having children (I have much to learn before I can teach) but my girlfriends and I often stumble into conversations about one day raising kids. We joke about “our children” and what sports they might try or if we will dare to make them into “beauty queens” like some of the hellish mothers on television. But ultimately, we wonder what values and morals we will give to our children. What Pearls Of Wisdoms We Will Want Our Little Ones To Savor. And though I often debate on the answer to this question, after this weekend I think I am sure of how to answer this question.

You see, I won’t care if my child does not want to write or does not want to dance. I want my children to be whatever their little hearts pray to be, but I want them to know one thing, more than anything at all: People are going to tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world. Never listen to cynics, only keep striving to leave this world better off for having had you around. I want them to know that even with all the tragedy and the heartbreak in this big globe of ours, they can play a part in making it more blue, more green and more humane. It sounds whimsical, perhaps too idealistic, but I only speak it because I see it and I know it to be true.

I spent this past weekend at a dance competition put on by the non-profit Kids for Kids: Dancing for Life. I grew up learning to dream with this organization, one that started fifteen years ago as a grassroots project and has now expanded to help donate over $700,000 to children’s causes, putting on a 4-day competition for dancers all over New England. All the proceeds from the competition go towards local charities, presented with checks throughout the long weekend. Now that is a lot of good. But more glorious than all the funds that one check can hold is the fact that the little dancers know and learn throughout the weekend that their dances are different this time around. This time their twirls and pirouettes are dedicated to a child in a hospital receiving chemo or a family who has lost their father and is in need of scholarship money. By doing what they love, the art of dance, they are impacting the world and changing it. Shifting It. Daring It To Be. Look. Feel. Different.

We can easily watch the 5p.m. news tonight and feel the weight of a heavy world crashing onto our shoulders. But where will that get us? How will that renew us? What good are we if we are sunken by the tragedies that hold so much potential to pummel us?

I dare say that we need to shift our view point. We need to stop identifying all that is wrong, because the list will never end, and start small in making things right. A donation here. A few volunteer hours there. Lord knows I will never be the best salad maker in the world (though I made 250 in a few short hours) or ever master the art of making the perfect cannoli but this weekend it did not matter, it only mattered that I tried to do my part. And The Essence Is In The Trying. As checks were passed and passed and passed to people whose faces turned golden by the generosity, I knew at that very moment: We are so capable of making the difference that we grow up dreaming and believing in. We exist for a million little reasons but we must be the ones to dare those reasons into existence.

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13 thoughts on “I can never give credit to all that is wrong. The spotlight belongs to those who make right.

  1. I had heard the story about the young man and the star fish before, but had forgotten it. It was a pleasure to read it again, and remember how good it is to do something positive, even if it is small.

  2. This is yet another reason we would be such wonderful friends in real life. It makes my heart happy to read this sort of thing – I try and do little things here and there, offering pamphlets and granola bars instead of change to homeless people, doing fundraisers and donating to charities. You’re so right – it’s incredibly easy to be worn down by all the negativity in the world, but the best thing we can do is to focus on what WE can do to make the world a better place. 🙂

  3. Hey there,
    I returned from a two week absence from work today and realized the one thing I missed the MOST was the food pantry I oversee. It is amazing in a sense that each can of food we distribute is making a difference in someone’s life. Many times, people will say to me…I don’t have a lot to give, and what difference could a can of food make. Well, I will tell you…..that one can of tuna, package of pasta, or tea and coffee can make a difference. I see it in the smiles of my client’s faces as they leave the pantry and to think something that we consider routine or non-esential could make such a difference. Every little bit helps, whether it be making those salads, cannoli’s or just offering an ear to hear someone else’s story and hardships. Hannah, you ARE an amazing woman and writer and YOU WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE in EVERY LIFE YOU TOUCH.

    1. Hi Hagan:

      Thanks so much for the comment. It was great to read and to hear from you as well! I do hope I can make a difference, but it is so good to know that there are others out there inclined to do the same. It is awesome to know that even the tiniest acts make an enormous impact. Glad you commented!

      Best,

      Hannah Katy

  4. It’s so true that we need to stop complaining about the negative and focusing on how we can turn the negative into a positive. And we have to get out there and do SOMETHING to make it a positive. This post is inspiring.

    1. Thanks Stephany. It is great to hear that. I was feeling a bit inspirational today, so I am glad to see that it radiated into this post.

      Best,

      Hannah Katy

  5. I’ve never heard that story before but it’s nice to get a reminder that each of us can make a difference every day. I’ve also never heard of that organization. A lot of times kids get caught up in, car washes, bake sales, etc… to provide money for their own clubs, trips or organizations. It’s touching to see kids doing something to help other kids.

    1. I agree.. Watching the money that is raised at this competition is definitely a powerful and profound experience. When they present the awards to the different people and foundations there is not a dry eye in the room… And I had the opportunity to work the merchandise table for some of the competition and it was great to see parents purchasing things for their kids but not griping about the expensive price.. they just kept saying “I know this is for a good cause so its worth it.” Don’t encounter that too much on a day to day basis.

      Best,

      Hannah Katy

  6. Hi Hannah,

    You don’t know me, but I am currently an intern at Pita Communications. As I prepare to graduate college in the beginning of May and enter into the “real world”, I sat down with Jenny Smith, and when the topic of writing came up, she told me to check out your blog… and so I did.
    Anyway, I felt the need to comment and tell you (although I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times before), that you truly are an amazing writer and each post of yours is incredibly inspiring. Keep posting and keep making the world a better place. 🙂

    Best,
    Shannon

    1. Hi Shannon:

      So good to hear from a fellow Pita intern! How has the internship been going for you? I, too, am in the same boat as you, prepping for graduation in just a few short weeks. The thought is absolutely crazy. Thank you so much for the compliment on my writing, it really means so much to hear that. Jenny is awesome, loved collaborating with her.. You should shoot me an email (HannahKaty@live.com) or send me yours and we can chat! I would love to hear of your plans after graduation and to share Pita experiences.

      Best,

      Hannah Katy

      p.s. tell everyone I say hi!

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