I have always loved this story (source unknown):
THE STARFISH POEM
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 he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man
and the young man wasn’t dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean. As he got closer he called out, “Good morning! What are you doing?”
The young man paused, looked up and replied, “Throwing starfish in the ocean.” The wise man then asked, “Why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?” “The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don’t throw them in they’ll die.”
“But, young man, don’t you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can’t possibly make a difference!”
The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.”
When I was visiting my brother earlier this week and found this starfish stranded on the beach, I knew what I had to do, and what I had to remember. It’s not about making a splash or being seen as an expert or anything else. It’s about making a difference, to one person, today.
That’s all I want to do.
Today I’m making a gallery of women in planetary science on Pinterest, in the hope that one little girl somewhere, when she’s just about had enough of the boys teasing and ignoring her all at once, will find it, and realize that there are other girls like her who love science, who love nature, who love looking up at the stars, or who want to figure out how things work more than anything else — and when she grows up, or perhaps before, she will find them.
She will work hard and stay focused, and not get discouraged, and she will be able to do the work she loves.