It’s common to feel uneasy or intimidated by the scale of a significant challenge. Even when you know that the change needs to happen you may not really know how to go about delivering it. Where do you start? Whom do you involve? How do you see it through to the end?”
I know that when striving to make an organization fully inclusive, all too often, the questions themselves seem overwhelming, the task insurmountable. But we have to start somewhere. Small steps CAN make a difference.
A favorite story:
Once upon a time, there was an old man who took walks on the beach every morning. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”The young boy paused, looked up, and replied, “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves. When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”
adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)Helping to move your faith organization toward inclusion may seem like throwing back all the starfish on the beach, but it really is ok to start with the starfish you can reach.