His name was Anthony Emilio Fatalo, the second son of Italian immigrants. Her name was Rosaria Buonasaro, the first daughter of a man from Salerno, Sicily and a woman from Avellino, Italy. You don’t know them. You probably have never heard of them, unless, of course, you read my blog religiously. To me, they are Bumpy and Mimi. The world is oblivious to my grandparents’ existence, or perhaps not…
Many folks search for their purpose in life; how they will be successful and make their mark on history. They frantically seek out the means to become famous. This is overly evident today in TV programming, news, and certainly in the use of social media platforms. You can rant and rave and stomp your feet all you want, but the likelihood is that you will essentially be muted by the rest of the noise out there. Dancing and wearing goofy hats may get your face on the jumbotron, but will never put you in the game. The amplitude by which you live will not depict the true impact you have on life and others. However, the subtle ripples of your life will most likely silently cause an effect on the world.
I am fearful that many have fallen into the trap of believing that the “splash moment”, or “photo bomb”, is the substance of life; the reality is that it is only the window dressing. I am a marketing guy, so I understand the importance of getting noticed and being in front of your constituency at the appropriate times, but that is only one piece of the puzzle. Before the glitz and the flair, and the outright in-your-face tactics, there needs to be substance to what you are providing. There needs to be substance to your life. The “show” may get you eyeballs, but will it provide the ripples that make a true difference? The perfect combination of flair and brilliance is rare. A minority of people can deliver both, but just because you do not know how to live in the spotlight, doesn’t mean you’re not a star.
My grandparents were hard-working, honest, and smart people. They lived their lives not for themselves, but for their children and grandchildren. They didn’t have a need to be in the spotlight, they didn’t need to have an enviable career, and they didn’t need people to “like” them. All they needed was to make sure their family unit was solid and happy. The impact of their focus is the source of many, many positive ripples. I am only one small piece of the puzzle, but every time I get a thank you for helping someone, or that I am told I’ve made a difference in someone’s life, it is a direct result of my grandparents’ efforts and attention to me. The time they invested in me provided the foundation I needed to understand how important it is to have a positive impact on people’s lives every day. I may not succeed in that quest day in and day out, but I am conscious of the fact that I have a responsibility to make sure that is so. My grandparents instilled in me the reality that individually, we amount to very little, but the ripples of what we do can be monumental in effect.
I write this for those of you brilliant and wonderful people who dwell in the background of life, for those of you who are not out there yelling at the top of your lungs, “HERE I AM, please notice me”, for those of you who are thoughtful and helpful regardless of reward. I realize that at times you may feel like you are in the shadow of bigger and better things, but that is only the show, not the reality. You are a star, and your ripples are flowing positively into others’ lives, causing even more ripples. Like my grandparents, you make a difference; a ripple from a single life has much more range and power than an amplified scream.
The world may think it’s oblivious to my grandparents’ existence, but it’s not, thanks to the ripples from their lives.