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

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“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®

Being a Team Player – A Parent’s Guide: On and off the field

February 29th, 2016

A trophy carries dust. Memories last forever.

Mary Lou Retton

Home Field Advantage: Sports Talk

Why do your children play sports?  Do they want to? Do you want them to? Are they enjoying themselves?

When children sign up for sports, most parents want them to have fun, exercise, learn skills and team play…all while remaining safe and healthy.

How do you know your child is having a positive experience? What is your role as a parent?

Here are some guidelines to consider:

  • Show them your love and support, win or lose.
  • Develop healthy attitudes toward competition; discuss the value of effort, persistence and courage.
  • Encourage them to do their best.
  • Explaining while winning is an admirable goal, winning at all costs is not.
  • Discuss the value of rules and discipline.

Before the Game: Setting Goals

Support your children’s interests by getting to know their coaches, and making sure the coaches (and yes, you too parents) demonstrate behaviors that reflect desired attitudes and ethics.

Game Day: Fan or Foe?

Now that you know the value of being a team player both on and off the field, it’s important to understand your fan “type:”

The Cheerleader: You cheer for your child and her team, or even for a good play on the opposing team.

The Critic: Your comments involve shouting corrections or comments at your child, his teammates, and coaches or referees.

The Observer: You quietly watch your child’s sporting event, smiling, nodding, and giving a “thumb’s up” when you see something positive.

The Ghost: You are not at most of the games, and if you are there, you are not present, but spending time on your phone and with your back to the game.

Ask your child to complete this sentence.  I enjoy when you come to my games because…

If you are one of those amazing sports families, you may want to consider planning a trip to various sports hall of fames, such as:

Hockey Hall of Fame – Toronto, Ontario

Basketball Hall of Fame – Springfield, Massachusetts

Baseball Hall of Fame – Cooperstown, NY

Football Hall of Fame – Canton, OH

Tennis Hall of Fame – Newport, RI

Soccer Hall of Fame – Oneonta, NY

Volleyball Hall of Fame – Holyoke, MA

Golf Hall of Fame – St. Augustine, FL

Softball Hall of Fame – Oklahoma City, OK

Ice Skating – Denver, CO

Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame – Ishpeming, MI

Lacrosse Hall of Fame – Baltimore, MD

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

What are we trying to accomplish?

January 31st, 2016

einstein

It happened again. 

The other evening we are at a restaurant.  A family of four enters; the two little boys don’t even glance up from their cell phones as they are being seated. Shortly after orders are placed, the parents join the independent activity on their cell phones.

Yes, times are different but what hasn’t changed is the invaluable connection to the most important people in our lives.  As Einstein fears, are we at the stage where technology is surpassing human interaction?

  • How will our children learn they are part of a family that matters more than anything else?
  • How will they come to know the wonder and craziness of extended family if they don’t listen to the rich family stories?
  • How do parents teach values if children are listening to what is deemed newsworthy by popular culture?

When It Comes to Infant Language Development, Not All Toys Are Created Equal.

Parents – you are the perfect toy!

Of all the changes we would love to make in society but can’t – this one is completely in your control.

Please forgive me if I’m not impressed that your one-year-old knows how to swipe an iPad.  It would be so much better if they know how to turn the page of a book.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

What do you want for Christmas?

December 17th, 2015

everett

Truly wonderful the mind of a child is.

Yoda to Obi-Wan about the purity of innocence and the insights that can be gleamed from listening to fresh ideas. – Episode II: Attack of the Clones

While wrapping my gifts I noticed empty paper cardboard rolls and ribbon spools.  Rather than toss them out, I looked at them differently; almost as if they would be treated as treasures for children with wonderful imaginations.

My thinking was heightened as I had recently spent time with such a little boy.  He seemed to be able to make a game out of any object, and included adults as part of the game.  That gave him time to get to know and appreciate us. When we left his house, he turned and said, “I want to give you one more hug.” I thought how priceless it is for family to hear that from a child.

I suspect that was largely due to the creative freedom he had to make up his own games.  Since he was a four-year-old boy, naturally the games involved a lot of physical movement.  But that might be why he was so happy.  I remember an interview a number of years ago with Dr. Vicki who talked about little boys and anger.  Please listen to her complete broadcast on dealing with anger, but the message is that little children, especially boys, need to move and play.  If they don’t have such opportunities, their pent up energy is displaced as irritability and anger.

When buying your children presents for Christmas, remember that playing with them makes the game so much better and far more memorable.

See how these toys from the past 100 years jar your memory.

During this holiday season, remember it’s more than the gift or the toy.  Be part of the fun and include extended family as well. The time you play with them is what the kids will remember.

Merry Christmas

Happy Hanukkah

Happy Kwanzaa

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

 

The Thanksgiving Table

November 25th, 2015

I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.

Henry David Thoreau

This past weekend, Saturday Night Live did a great skit about a family Thanksgiving ‘discussion’ and how the Adele song Hello made people stop and think.

The scene is likely repeated in homes all over the country; it’s a great, simple message.  No need for controversy; we will have differences of opinion, but let’s be thankful for the people around the table, and in our lives.

Peace is harmony, and something we can create for ourselves.

Enjoy spending time with the people that you love, and give thanks you are able to celebrate with them.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®