How sweet potatoes can keep our traditions yet change our view of the world

November 30th, 2016

We had such an amazing Thanksgiving, and loved sharing our traditions and stories with our new grandson.  The videos are below.

But here is an interesting connection related to something we love as a tradition, yet take for granted – sweet potatoes!

Four scientists have been awarded the 2016 World Food Prize for enriching sweet potatoes, which resulted in health benefits for millions of people. Please read this incredible article to see science and parent education can have transformational effects on millions of pre-school children in 118 nations.

And to us, it was simply a traditional side dish!

Enjoy the holiday season!

 

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

Food fixes everything, especially problems with society

October 30th, 2016

 

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one. Mother Teresa

If you’re like me, you want to disconnect from all election news.

Why do we hang our hopes on a leader for societal improvements?   Are we going to have these same conversations four years from now? Eight years from now?

What if the changes were easier than we thought, and we don’t need to wait for anyone?

I believe we can, and change simply begins with food.

Think about when you are happy?   It usually involves, family, friends and food, and connecting with each other around the table. It so happens there are grass movements (ha ha literally!) going on in the country to make sure everyone has access to healthy food.

  1. It begins with school gardens, community gardens, and rooftop gardens.
  2. It’s as simple as making sure a child has a good breakfast before school.
  3. It’s as real as a billionaire believing in chickens.

These powerful movements can grow with a single seed.  What do you say we each plant one?

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Leaders with no followers are just taking a walk

September 25th, 2016

On the eve of the presidential debate, we are reminded of the crisis in leadership that presently exists in this country.

In the case of Wells Fargo, words serving as their mission statement and values were carefully constructed yet meaningless catch phrases, “Everything we do is built on trust. It doesn’t happen with one transaction, in one day on the job or in one quarter. It’s earned relationship by relationship.”

Statements no doubt prepared by expensive consultants and approved by Wells Fargo’s leadership team.

America’s Most Valuable Bank is a title Wells Fargo will no longer hold as the revelation that thousands of their employees were creating bogus checking and credit card accounts in order to meet their strict and unrealistic quotas the only way possible – by cheating.

This fraudulent practice has been going on for years. Over two million fake accounts were created and, as a result, over 5000 people were fired. Clearly this scandal reveals cultural and management problems at Wells Fargo. There are lessons to be learned from this crazy story, and one is: The Misuse of Metrics.

With over two million accounts opened, and no further activity on those accounts, the only metric that mattered was opening accounts.  Where was the compliance monitoring?

Best said by Senator Elizabeth Warren who challenged Wells Fargo’s CEO John Stumpf at Banking Committee Hearing.

Let’s also consider Mylan’s CEO Heather Bresch who testified in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.  The price of the device, used in emergencies to treat severe allergic reactions, has increased more than 500% since Mylan acquired it in 2007.

Let’s model real leadership for our children.  Hopefully their generation won’t play a game of words.  We can do better; we must do better.

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

Boys will be boys is hardly true

August 27th, 2016

boys will be boys

 

Sports do not build character.  They reveal it.

John Wooden

The phrase ‘boys will be boys’ has become synonymous for men getting away with unsuitable behavior such as the the ever-changing story of the alleged Rio robbery of four Olympic swimmers — Ryan Lochte, Gunnar Bentz, James Feigen, and Jack Conger.

The Rio Olympics spokesman Mario Andrada, showed the IOC isn’t too worried about the severity of Lochte and friends making up a robbery story that quickly stole the nation’s attention:

I do not regret having apologized. No apologies from [Lochte] or other athletes are needed. We have to understand that these kids came here to have fun. Let’s give these kids a break. Sometimes you make decisions that you later regret. They had fun, they made a mistake, life goes on.

Unbelievable!

That was the only negative story to come out a country that had a dangerous image prior to the Olympics.  Why give them a pass, and not even require an apology?

This is not a case of boys will be boys.

But there are cases where boys should be boys, such as five-year-old Omran Daqneesh who was photographed sitting dazed and bloodied in the back of an ambulance after surviving a regime airstrike in Aleppo highlighting the desperation of the Syrian civil war.

He should not be covered head to toe with dust and disoriented.  He should be playing with other kids his age, and I have to believe that is what the term boys will be boys was originally intended to convey.

Ryan Lochte can wordsmith the event all he wants, but the rest of us have to stop making excuses and exceptions for athletes. They should transition from boys to men just like everyone else.

Have a great week!

 

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

 

Unfortunately our present may be our future

July 18th, 2016

hope is not a strategy

Each week as the adults are talking about the current example of unimaginable violence, we worry about what to tell the kids.  Instead of protecting them, share your values.  Let them know how you expect them to treat others.

As an example, this past weekend a friend was at a fast food restaurant with her 13 year-old son.  She asked him to hold the table as she got the food.  After they left, he began crying in the car and told his mom three kids called him an F… Slow Stupid Retard. He is autistic.

The mom told her son the boys probably don’t have parents that teach them right from wrong.  They may not be loved as he is loved.  They simply may not know any better.  But we do.

Hope is not a strategy, but decisive planning is.  Don’t expect your children to learn kindness or empathy on their own.  As their greatest and most important teachers, that is our job.

We are being distracted by things such as Pokémon Go.  We have to be careful or the cult film Idiocracy will be our future.  The good news is that when children are born, they don’t know the hate or prejudice that are the root cause of our problems as indicated in the lyrics below from South Pacific.  Perhaps, we’ll get lucky and the parents who would teach hate and fear will be too busy playing Pokémon Go.

You’ve got to be taught

To hate and fear,

You’ve got to be taught

From year to year,

It’s got to be drummed

In your dear little ear

You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid

Of people whose eyes are oddly made,

And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,

You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,

Before you are six or seven or eight,

To hate all the people your relatives hate,

You’ve got to be carefully taught

lyrics from South Pacific

Hoping for an uneventful week.

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

Welcome to our world little one!

July 10th, 2016

IMG_0222

 

“We did not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” Ancient Indian Proverb

 

To our new grandson, we are so very happy that you arrived this week healthy and happy!

Your parents are good people, and you are loved by a very large (and somewhat crazy) extended family. Having so many people ‘in your corner’ is a very good thing!

We will encourage you to play, learn and grow to be someone good in this world.

Here is a little advice from Nonna:

  1. When you color, use all the crayons in the box. That will make your picture so much more interesting.
  1. When playing with your friends, they may have different ideas on what to play or how to play. Listen to their ideas, too. After all, the objective is to have fun. If you start with that in mind, everybody wins!
  1. Be grateful for everything you have, and remember it’s more about the people you are playing with, than about the game.
  2. There are certain games, like baseball, where you have to choose sides. Remember, you only have to choose sides when the game specifically calls for it. Other times, it’s nice to start in the middle rather than taking sides.
  3. Although the message in stories is that some people are good and others are bad, that is very rarely true.
  4. Don’t think you can look at a person and know the kind of person they are. Give people the benefit of the doubt. The ugly witch can be a very good person.
  5. Know that we will do everything we can to protect you. And the largest population in the world is good people. They outnumber everyone else.
  6. There aren’t always easy answers to a problem, but we can’t stop trying to fix them. There is always something we can do.
  7. You are going to make mistakes. Admit them, apologize, learn from your mistakes and move on.
  8. It is always a good time to be kind.

Every time a child is born, so is a grandparent.

I love you all the time!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

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Your honor, I used to believe in the judicial system

June 12th, 2016

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”  – Marie Curie

I’m presently going through the jury selection process, called “voir dire,” which is Latin for “to speak the truth.” In voir dire, the judge and attorneys for both sides ask potential jurors questions to determine if they are competent and suitable to serve in the case.

I only know that because My Cousin Vinny is one of my favorite movies.

During the selection, you are asked if you believe in the judicial system.  I’m encouraged by the attention paid to this process especially when compared to North Korea sentencing of American student Otto Frederick Warmbier to 15 years of hard labor after accusing him of removing a political banner from a hotel.

I understand justice is not always served, even for promising athletes like Brian Banks.  As you read his story, if not for this unjust situation, he may have been playing for the NFL.

But the reason the Stanford case has me concerned is I don’t understand the sentencing.  I get that it’s not my job as a juror; a juror’s job is to listen to evidence, the law, and render a verdict with the burden of proof on the prosecution.

For the sentencing, Your Honor, I assume there are rules, guidelines, guardrails, call them what you like, but there has to be a way to show your work.

Like millions, I read the letters; from the victim, from the father of the guilty party, from Vice President Joe Biden. I’m heartbroken for the victim and her family and know that the sentence doesn’t change what happened.

There’s no way I would know the appropriate sentence, but I can’t fathom how six months is right.  That is my question.  Could you please show your work so we could all understand.

Without understanding, we just take sides.

With understanding, we can build bridges rather than walls.

And then maybe we won’t react to sound bites, and fill our need to place blame.

Feasibly we can pay more attention to changing things that will make a lasting difference, rather than participating in momentary outrage.

Conceivably there might be one less American tragedy as happened today with the Orlando shooting.

But we allow ourselves to be easily distracted as we always do.

It begins and ends with understanding. I’m listening, so please show your work.

 

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Nice to meet you! Let’s not talk about politics

June 1st, 2016

parenting 2

It happened a long time ago, but I remember it clearly as if it were yesterday.

I took my two little children to a birthday party for a neighbor’s child.  Michael was just over two, and Noelle about eight months old.  Since my husband was working, I was alone at the party.  Everyone was in the yard, and Michael went to play in one of those outdoor plastic playhouses.  I was right next to the playhouse, and could see his little head and red shirt through the playhouse window.  Every few minutes, while holding Noelle, I would turn to see his little head and the red shirt.  After about 15 minutes the child turns around I realize I was watching another little boy with a red shirt.  I panicked and the entire party began frantically searching all over the yard and in the house for Michael.

A mom ran out front and down the street.   A few minutes later she returned holding him.  Her face was white and she was shaking.  “He was standing at the top of the hill in the middle of the street.  A car coming up the hill would not have seen him, and he would have been hit.”  She is barely able to speak.  I grab and hug him, and take both kids home.

I wouldn’t call myself a bad mother, ever. 

It seems that our polite society gets the fact that we shouldn’t engage in political discussions, especially when we have opposing views.  But we don’t seem to hesitate for a moment when judging other parents.  The anonymity of social media encourages behavior that is quick to judgement, mean and unfair.

This is evident in the recent Cincinnati Zoo incident.  There is a petition with over 460,000 signatures to hold the parents responsible.  Does everyone jump to conclusions?  Do we trust the cell phone video coverage over eyewitness accounts?  Any parent knows accidents can happen in a single moment.

Another example of rush to judgement is the story of the mom who defended the video that shows her baby trying to stay afloat in pool. She taught her daughter to ‘self save’ after losing her two-year-old son in a drowning accident.  Could you imagine to have to defend your position of teaching your child a life skill after losing a child?

Everyday there are countless situations where parents are told by strangers to ‘watch their kids’ whether it is at the pool or the playground.

Parenting is a tough enough job without all the outside critics.  Honestly, let’s just agree to argue about the election – we certainly have enough to discuss.

Please support each other.

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

 

 

The reason we don’t hang dirty laundry outside

May 8th, 2016

“It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. My mom says some days are like that.”

Judith Viorst

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

Being a mom is a 24/7, 365 days a year for the rest of your life kind of wonderful!

And you know this is true because of all the Facebook posts with smiles, flowers and hearts.

But let’s be honest.  Yes, it is wonderful and rewarding and all the positive talk, but not perfect.  Being a mom requires work and lessons and disappointment, but well worth the effort.

To the new moms out there…you are doing well.  Don’t let others’ happy pictures (including mine) lead you to believe that other moms have all good days.  We sometimes yell, and say bad things, and don’t always make homemade cupcakes or attend every baseball game.

But we do the best with what we have.  So the next time you see all smiles on Facebook, think about this:

We don’t hang our dirty laundry outside on the clothesline. 

Washing dirty clothes is simply part of the job, and we learn to put our kids in nice clean clothes for the outside world.  We all do the best we can!

Have a great week and a fabulous Mother’s Day!

 

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

 

 

The true meaning of ping

March 20th, 2016

ravioli

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. 

Harriet van Horne

They purchased all the ingredients and planned the day so they could make well over a hundred ravioli before Easter. The women would gather in the basement of the row house on 44th Street in Brooklyn in an assembly line fashion.  Aprons on and work area set, they would focus on making dough and the filling, which was called “ping.”

On Easter Sunday, the family would eagerly gather at the table for a traditional first course. I never understood the origin of the word ping, and never gave it much thought until many years later as the colloquial use of the word would mean reaching out to connect with someone. You might hear someone say, “Ping me when you’re available.”

It’s funny, but that is what the ping filling did all those years ago; it connected everyone in the family.  We found the recipe and yesterday we followed it. Since taste is such a powerful memory trigger, we believe we got it right because the stories of those family gatherings so long ago seemed as if they happened only yesterday.

I suppose the true meaning on the word “ping” is connections after all.  And today is National Ravioli Day!

Mangia!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®