By: Rosanne Mondrone, Director of Community Relations
“Success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the large things; to
the everyday things nearest to us rather than to the things that are remote and uncommon.”
Booker T. Washington
This quote made me think about the profoundness of the comment and how it applied to our
recent times. Something as remote and uncommon as a pandemic could have destroyed us, but
all the little unnoticed and noticed things that people did, saved us.
Someone very close to me once said, “You drop a drop and you’ll make a river.” I used to think
about that saying a lot. You don’t really think about how that great river got started just that it’s
a mighty river. It started with one drop of water somewhere. We, as a society and individually,
tend to focus on the larger-than-life situations without giving any thought to the little things
that have the biggest impact.
I recently heard a story about the great ocean liner, Titanic. A couple of days before the ship was ready to sail the second mate was taken off the ship for duty somewhere else. It happened
unexpectedly. The Titanic set sail and it was realized, after the fact, when the Titanic hit
dangerous waters that the mate forgot to turn over a very small key to a locked box in the
crow’s nest (the lookout tower) that held the only pair of binoculars. When the crew
approached the bigger than life icebergs, in the dead of night, they couldn’t see past their own
You know the rest of the story. Can you imagine what could have changed if they had access to
that very little key? If they could have spotted those icebergs early on? If the second ma
remembered to pass the key on or remained on the ship? History might be a lot different than
we know it.
After church today I stopped to get a couple of things I needed for the week. I was in the
checkout line of Stop and Shop when I realized the girl assisting me, Didi, looked like a Disney
princess. She was wearing jewels on her face and a silver crown along with a beautiful necklace.
She looked out of place at the checkout in Stop and Shop.
Curiously, I asked, her what was the occasion for the crown and everything. She sweetly but
shyly replied, “No occasion. I dress like this every day.” I know she saw my mouth drop a bit and by my hesitation, alluded to the fact that I was taken aback. I was. I’m used to crabby individuals checking me out who don’t ever make eye contact with me or act like they realize a person is in front of them, even when I thank them by name,
for helping me.
Here in front of me was a beautiful, young woman being her unique self, showing me kindness
and grace and was a pleasure to anyone’s eye. I smiled and told her how beautiful she looked.
As I walked away feeling uplifted, I felt she was uplifted too. That small little conversation,
exchanging pleasantries and noticing her uniqueness has a much greater meaning. There is a
reason Didi dresses the way she does. A big reason. I may never know what it is but I am sure
the little, beautiful, compliments will encourage her to find her authentic self, one day.
It’s those little things that have a big effect on our daily lives. We don’t know exactly how
COVID spread. It was probably a little mistake that created a big problem. Still, all we talk about
is the big event, the pandemic. Maybe we should be talking about how to recover with dignity
and respect, by reverting back to doing the little things. The little things; kindness, respect,
appreciation is what got us through. It seems like the pandemic has given many of us an excuse,
to forget to be kind, patient and respectful towards others.
As our freedom is returned to us, we are fighting with our neighbors about wearing masks or
going to restaurants. We have become so critical of each other. Check out social media. Now
we shouldn’t talk about religion, politics and COVID. We have quickly forgotten about those
who made sure we could get gas in our cars, mail delivered, have groceries on our table and
took care of our loved ones when we were too afraid to leave our homes. We have all been
through a year of fear, stress and anxiety more remote and uncommon than we will ever know.
The best way to succeed in life “is founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the
large things; to the everyday things nearest to us.” Mother Theresa said, “We cannot all do
great things, but we can all do small things with great love.”
Director of Community Relations
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