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Moral stories about making a difference (Starfish Story)

Starfish StoryWe are by nature moral story tellers. Our brains are wired to tell moral stories.

Think for a moment about how many moral stories you have already told today: to your spouse or partner; to your children; to your colleagues; or to your friends. Moral stories are the currency of our lives; they are the measure of our days. We are nothing without our moral stories, because moral stories encapsulate our fears, our failures, our dreams, and our desires. We understand and make sense of our own lives by telling moral stories about ourselves and others. Moral stories are the touchstones for our emotions.

Moral stories have a way to connect and stay with us like nothing else ever could. They tap into our inner feelings and make us part of it. The reason why we remember moral stories is because they pull on our emotional strings. They make us think and they make us feel. And it's that feeling that helps us remember.

A moral story, not data or facts, shake us up and make us see other points of view through characters we can identify with. And if a story is really captivating, we continue to think about it, turning it over in our minds, savoring it. Maybe we even begin to think about things a little differently from the way we had thought about them before. Moral stories have the power to move us emotionally; stir us intellectually; and teach us, too.

The following moral stories about making a difference will never fail to inspire us, regardless of how insignificant it may seem in the eyes of others.

Once upon a time, while walking along a beach, an elderly wise man saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young boy, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water.

Elderly wise man came closer still and called out, "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young boy paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing starfish back into the ocean."

The elderly wise man smiled and said, "I must ask then, why are you throwing starfish back into the ocean?"

To this, the young boy 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 elderly wise man commented, "But, young boy, do you not realise that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

The young boy listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, "It made a difference for that one."

We often think we are too insignificant or too unimportant to make a difference. We couldn't be further from the truth. So, can I encourage you to take the time to do something that will make a difference to someone else's life and it doesn't have to be much and they don't need to know. Just take a moment, do something special, the universe will know and that's enough.

I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do something I can do. - Helen Keller

One is not born into the world to do everything but to do something. - Henry David Thoreau

Moral Story: Efforts of a little bird (Ababeel)

Efforts of a little bird (Ababeel)Once there was a little bird (Ababeel) that lived during the times of Prophet Abraham (Hazrat Ibrahim AS). When Prophet Abraham (pbuh) was thrown into fire by the enemy of faith, King Nimrod, a little bird saw what happen and decide to put out the fire to help Prophet Abraham (pbuh). The little bird starts scooping up few drops of water in her tiny beak from the nearby river. The larger birds in the vicinity watched and laughed at the little bird and they said, "Where are you carrying the water?"

The little bird said, "To put out the fire around Prophet Abraham (pbuh)." The larger birds continue laughing. "How could you put out such a huge fire with such a small amount of water? It is pointless and useless."

Do you know what the little bird replied? "I am sure Allah (SWT) will not asked me whether I manage to put out the fire or not. But Allah (SWT) will ask what I have done to stop the fire."

Hearing the answer, all the larger birds are silenced.

We often think that our effort is the one responsible for our success. This is wrong way of thinking because Allah (SWT) is the One. If he says we succeeded, we will succeed. Our effort is just a sacrifice that we are willing to make. Similarly little bird knows that with few drops of water fire will not extinguished but it is his responsibility to contribute whatever it can in anyway with his capability.

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better. - Robert F. Kennedy

One more practical example from our time: The leader of the revolution and founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (ra), was questioned by the media personnel in Paris, at the time when the climax of the scenario was set in, whether he thought the revolution would be successful or not. He replied, "I don't know." And the whole world was taken by astonishment. Such a great leader and such a simple answer. So he went onto say that he was not doing what he was doing, for the sake of achieving a result or success. It was just he felt that it is his duty and responsibility to do something for his nation. He went onto explain that when Allah (SWT) will question him of what he had done when everyone was wrong, then atleast he could reply that he put in his best efforts in his full capacity to make a difference.

It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result. - Mahatma Gandhi

Make a difference: Teacher Mrs. Thompson and Teddy Stallard

Make a difference StoryAs she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stallard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant.

It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big "F" at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners; he is a joy to be around."

Teddy's second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."

Teddy's third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."

Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class."

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.

Teddy Stallard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to." After the children left, she cried for at least an hour.

On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her "teacher's pets."

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he would stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer.... The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stallard, MD.

The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.

Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.

They hugged each other and Dr. Stallard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear, "Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference."

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, "Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you."

You can never tell what type of impact you may have on someone's life by your actions or lack of action. Please consider this fact in your venture through life, and just try to make a difference in someone else's life today. Believe in Angels, and then return the favor by being someone's Angel.

No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world is and remains immortal. - Albert Pine

Moral Story: Who You Are Makes A Difference

Who You Are Makes A DifferenceA teacher in New York decided to honor each of her seniors in high school by telling them the difference they each made. She called each student in front of the class, one at a time. First she told them how the student made a difference to her and the class. Then she presented each of them with a blue ribbon imprinted with gold letters which read, "Who I Am Makes A Difference."

Afterwards, the teacher decided to do a class project to see what kind of impact recognition would have on the community. She gave each of the students 3 more ribbons and instructed them to go out and spread this acknowledgment ceremony. Then they were to follow up on the results, see who honored whom and report back to the class in about a week.

One of the boys in the class went to a junior executive in a nearby company and honored him for helping him with his career planning. He gave him a blue ribbon and put it on his shirt. Then he gave him two extra ribbons, and said, "We are doing a class project on recognition, and we would like you to go out, find somebody to honor, give them a blue ribbon, then give them the extra blue ribbon so they can acknowledge a third person to keep this acknowledgment ceremony going. Then please report back to me and tell me what happened."

Later that day the junior executive went in to see his boss, who had been noted, by the way, as being kind of a grouchy fellow. He sat his boss down and he told him that he deeply admired him for being a creative genius. The boss seemed very surprised. The junior executive asked him if he would accept the gift of the blue ribbon and would he give him permission to put it on him. His surprised boss said, "Well, sure." The junior executive took the blue ribbon and placed it right on his boss's jacket above his heart.

As he gave him the last extra ribbon, he said, "Would you do me a favor? Would you take this extra ribbon and pass it on by honoring somebody else? The young boy who first gave me the ribbons is doing a project in school and we want to keep this recognition ceremony going and find out how it affects people."

That night the boss came home to his 14-year-old son and sat him down. He said, "The most incredible thing happened to me today. I was in my office and one of the junior executives came in and told me he admired me and gave me a blue ribbon for being a creative genius. Imagine! He thinks I'm a creative genius. Then he put this blue ribbon that says "Who I Am Makes A Difference" on my jacket above my heart. He gave me an extra ribbon and asked me to find somebody else to honor.

"As I was driving home tonight, I started thinking about whom I would honor with this ribbon and I thought about you. I want to honor you. My days are really hectic and when I come home I don't pay a lot of attention to you. Sometimes I scream at you for not getting good enough grades in school and for your bedroom being a mess, but somehow tonight, I just wanted to sit here and, well, just let you know that you do make a difference to me. Besides your mother, you are the most important person in my life. You are a great kid and I love you!"

The startled boy started to sob and couldn't stop crying. His whole body shook. He looked up at his father and said through his tears, "I was planning on committing suicide tomorrow, Dad, because I didn't think you loved me. Now I don't need to."

Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren't any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn't be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life's challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person. - Richard Buckminster Fuller

I have one life and one chance to make it count for something. My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference. - Jimmy Carter

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Islamic Moral Stories is designed by Akramulla Syed Last Updated: Thursday, November 17, 2016