Little Lessons

A Taste of the Past

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jul 24, 2020 4:30:00 AM

teacup
“The past is really almost as much a work of the imagination as the future.” – Jessamyn West

Anyone who knows me knows my love of coffee. Whether it’s from my favorite coffee shop, or Dunkin Donuts, or instant coffee heated over an open fire. No sugar or cream, just hot, black coffee. It’s the perfect way to start the day or end a meal.

Then there are afternoons when my cravings take me elsewhere. To a cup of tea. Now in my favorite teacup, featuring a “Penny Black” stamp. Printed in England in 1840, the Penny Black was the first adhesive postage stamp.

Whenever I drink tea, the flavor pulls memories from hidden corners of my mind. My father and uncle having tea on Sunday afternoons after dinner. My mother making the tea, even though she preferred coffee. My mother-in-law enjoying her cup with a spot of honey. A visit to the Bath Postal Museum to see an actual Penny Black.

The gift of this cup.

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Topics: inspiration, love, memories, mother, story, listen, moment, joy, little lessons, time, father, parents

Are You Smiling Behind That Mask?

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jul 10, 2020 4:30:00 AM

mask
To help stop the spread of COVID-19, we’ve been asked to adjust our lives. Limiting physical contact, keeping 6-feet apart when possible, and wearing masks. For different people, the changes represent distinct levels of difficulty.

Some people may want to point out that our parents (or grandparents) had it more difficult during the Great Depression and World War II. Others will hold up soldiers as examples to follow for toughness. Still others will hold up medical professionals as proof that anyone who complains are whiners.

My parents remain an inspiration for me. The actions of fellow veterans amaze me. I owe my health to the medical profession.

I still have empathy for people who are struggling with the new restrictions.

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Topics: strength, communicate, attitude, positive, moment, little lessons, emotions, parents, empathy, smile

What We Will Build

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jun 12, 2020 4:30:00 AM

toolbelt
"Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along." - Napoleon Hill

During the shutdown, people have turned to working with their hands as a coping mechanism. Baking bread was popular for several weeks, with people posting photos of their beautiful creations. Several of my friends are using their sewing skills to fabricate clothing and accessories. I’ve returned to my workshop.

My woodworking journey began about 30 years ago when I refinished my mother’s sewing table. It had been covered in soot due to a furnace malfunction. Using hand tools and an old belt sander, I was able to restore it. The best part of the project was the smile on my mother’s face when I delivered it to her house. Her father had been a cabinetmaker and my work brought back happy memories.

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Topics: leadership, love, mother, gift, listen, little lessons, social media, parents

Memorial Day Will Be Different This Year

Posted by Mark Fallon

May 22, 2020 4:45:00 AM

Flag and marker
“Green sods are all their monuments; and yet it tells a nobler history than pillared piles, or the eternal pyramids.” - James Gates Percival

My earliest memories of Memorial Day are watching my father march in a parade with the American Legion. He looked very sharp in his uniform.

When I was a teenager, I marched in Memorial Day parades as a member of two drum corps – the Immaculate Conception Queensmen and the Middlesex County Guardsmen. I remember how silent it became when we entered the cemeteries – just the beat of a single bass drum to keep the entire corps in step.

After my father died, I began marching on Memorial Day again. This time, as a member of the American Legion – a long circle completed.

This year will be different. No parades. No large gatherings at monuments. No readings of veterans’ names at cemeteries.

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Topics: reflection, inspiration, love, values, veteran, family, memories, people, little lessons, emotions, father, parents, honor, service, compassion

Small Joys Become a Lifetime of Happiness

Posted by Mark Fallon

Mar 13, 2020 5:00:00 AM

Dawn
“Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Sunday night, I walked into a local restaurant to pick up my order of Chinese food. I looked over to the soda cooler, and saw that they were out of lemonade, my drink of choice. The woman at the counter recognized me and grabbed my order. As she rung in the charge, she looked at me and asked, “You’re not getting a drink tonight?”

I explained that they were out of lemonade. She shared that during the off season, that often happens. I live in a town with a lot of summer tourists, and apparently, I’m one of the few people who drink lemonade all year. She then asked if I’d ever tried pineapple soda. I wasn’t even sure what that would taste like.

“Give it a try. If you don’t like it, next week, the entire meal is on the house.” How could I resist an offer like that?

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Topics: reflection, appreciation, positive, people, moment, happiness, joy, little lessons, kindness, wonder, parents, beauty, perspective

Refilling Our Hearts

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jan 17, 2020 5:00:00 AM

groceries
“Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.” – Kahlil Gibran

A friend shared a post about how an ordinary task – bagging groceries – brought back memories of her father. And how much she missed him. In a follow-up conversation, she talked about how much she thinks about him, about the hole that he left behind. She ended with, “I’m okay with that, because he is worth leaving that hole, only for him.”

That phrase stuck with me for days, “he is worth leaving that hole.” I thought of all the holes that have formed in my heart over the last few years. Losing people close to me – people worthy of leaving a hole. People worthy of tears in the middle of the night, or while watching a movie, or bagging groceries.

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Topics: personal relationships, love, memories, mother, people, little lessons, emotions, father, parents, nature

Your Favorite Little Lessons of 2019

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jan 10, 2020 5:00:00 AM

John Wilson
Another year, another 52 Little Lessons shared. Learning to slow down. Learning to listen. Learning to pay attention. Learning to live.

I’m grateful for everyone who takes the time to share my journey and the little lessons that I learn along the way. Your support is essential to my writing, to this blog, and to my next steps forward. Thank you.

Here the countdown of your 10 favorite “Little Lessons” of 2019:

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Topics: reflection, friendship, leadership, personal relationships, appreciation, positive, mother, happiness, little lessons, kindness, help, parents, service, volunteer, nature, walking, quiet

Finding the Positive

Posted by Mark Fallon

Oct 18, 2019 5:01:00 AM

Bentley Class of 1948 daytime
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall

Back in February, I wrote a blog post about my mother entitled, Take Heed of the Quiet Rebel. It was my annual tribute to my first teacher of life’s little lessons. I included stories of her accomplishments, including getting a college degree in 1948. The example of her life remains a guidepost for how I live my own.

A few weeks ago, I received a comment from Liz Baccala on the post. It was the sort of connection only possible in the age of the internet:

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Topics: networking, memories, mother, little lessons, help, social media, parents

What You Think You Know

Posted by Mark Fallon

Sep 20, 2019 5:01:00 AM

megatrends cover"A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read." - Mark Twain

Earlier this year, I developed a new presentation with my good friend, Sean Joyce. We wanted to emphasize the importance of humanity in a world seemingly dominated by technology. We entitled it, “Leadership in the Age of Robots.”

In one of our planning sessions, Sean brought up the concept of “High Tech – High Touch” proposed by John Naisbitt in his classic book, Megatrends. While technology is part of our evolution, our humanness is an equal partner. We must strive for balance between useful tools and critical connections.

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Topics: Reading and Books, little lessons, social media, parents, informed, knowledge, information

Can You Spare A Minute?

Posted by Mark Fallon

Aug 30, 2019 5:01:00 AM

coffee_tip
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” – Kahlil Gibran

On Day One of the road trip, I was introduced to a great local diner. Reasonable prices, good service and most importantly, an endless cup of hot, black coffee. Looking around, you could sense this was where “the locals” hung out.

I had an 8:00am conference call Tuesday morning, so I arrived at the diner around 6:45. Sitting at the counter, I enjoyed a plate of eggs and ham, followed by a bowl of fruit. Read the daily news on my smartphone, plus caught up with some friends on social media.

My coffee cup was near empty, and it was 7:15, so I thought it was time to ask for the check. Just then, an elderly gentleman sat down in the chair next to me – passing the 3 available seats along the way. The waitress addressed him by name, taking his order for oatmeal. The coffee was poured without a spoken request.

He turned to me and said, “Good morning, how are you today?”

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Topics: story, listen, people, little lessons, kindness, father, social media, parents

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Our blog helps the reader focus on the little lessons - taking place every day - that will lead to sustainable, long-term success.

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