A STORY is told about a young girl who was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm.
When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said: “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach!
You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied: “Well, I made a difference to that one!”
The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said.
Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish on that stretch of beach were saved.
Last week the country laid to rest a man who like the little girl in the story, made a difference in his community.
At the funeral of renowned ecomomist, Eric Bloch, his son Mark is said to have described his late father as an “eternal optimist”.
The man had great hope for the country. He went on to describe his father as a man who was willing to help others and put them before himself. In Mark’s words: “He was the city’s ambassador. He was a community builder and philanthropist. He had high hopes for this country and wanted change for the better.”
I think we can all agree that Mark’s description of his father is right on the money. Eric Bloch lived a purposeful life. He made a name for himself and built a good reputation too.
He wanted to make a difference in his community. True, he could not “save all the starfish”, but he played his part and made a difference one starfish at a time.
Our country needs more citizens like Bloch; citizens whose desire is to make a difference in their communities.
Citizens need not play the “blame game”, but rather be the change the country needs. To quote the lyrics of the song We Are The World: “We , can’t go on, pretending day by day that someone, somehow will soon make a change . . . We are the world, We are the children, We are the ones who make a brighter day, So lets start giving.”
Let us start giving our time, our talents, our resources to make a difference and build a better future for ourselves and the generations to come.
Bloch was indeed a legend. He will be remembered long after his worthwhile innings.
Nonto Masuku is a partner of an image and reputation management firm