Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

How to go on after Toys “R” Us ceases to exist

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

At the heart of every family tradition is a meaningful experience.

We had a wonderful family tradition in the early 90’s.

On Friday evenings after work, I would pick the kids up from day care, take them to the Chinese restaurant and put in our order.  We would then walk next door to Blockbuster to choose a movie and head back to pick up the food.  While heading back we did this sort of conga/salsa dance move singing a little homemade song to the words ‘Chinese food and movies’.

Friday’s were sacred and totally dedicated to family time after a busy work week.  All the week night rules were out the window.  We popped the movie in the VCR, sat in front of the TV and ate our Chinese food.

The tradition lasted until Blockbuster went out of business.

But their failure to evolve as a business was not going to impact our family tradition; we simply moved to Netflix.

Now, with the liquidation of Toys “R” Us many family traditions will change. Where they would have headed to the store to celebrate a good report card, birthday, or holiday, that special trip just won’t happen again.

But you don’t have to lose the joy because you lost the toy.  Instead build memories with experiential gifts.

Why reward the report card, when you can reward the effort?  If your child just completed a dinosaur diorama, take them to a museum that features dinosaurs such as The Museum of Natural History.

Why just give a book as a gift, when you can give a whole experience? One of the best gifts my daughter received from family was the book, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, celebrated with a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and lunch in Brooklyn.

If you are one of those amazing sports families, you may want to consider planning a trip to the hall of fame of your favorite sport.

There are many opportunities where families can stay close to home, and for little money attend local festivals, or support the local high school by attending concerts, plays and sporting events.  This also teaches kids they are part of a community.

Rather than worrying about your kids’ use of technology, host family game nights.

Why wait for the big holidays?  You can celebrate everyday holidays so there is always something to look forward to.

Here are a few examples:

January

  • Science Fiction Day – Jan 2nd
  • Sunday Supper Day – Jan 14th
  • Kazoo Day – Jan 28th

February

  • Random Acts of Kindness – Feb 17th
  • Margarita Day – Feb 22nd (ok, that’s clearly NOT for the kids!)
  • Tell a Fairy Tale Day – Feb 26th

March

  • Dr. Seuss Day (Read across America) Mar 2nd
  • Pi Day – Mar 14th
  • Take a Walk in the Park Day – Mar 30th

April

  • Peanut Butter & Jelly Day – Apr 2nd
  • Teach Children to Save Day – Apr 20th
  • Take our Kids to Work Day – Apr 26th

May

  • Star Wars Day – May 4th
  • Teacher Appreciation Day – May 8th
  • Take your Parents to the Playground Day – May 20th

June

  • Drive-In Movie Day – Jun 6th
  • Flag Day – June 14th
  • Meteor Watch Day – Jun 30th

July

  • Mac and Cheese Day – Jul 14th
  • Toss away ‘Could Have Should Have’ Day – Jul 21st
  • Cousins Day – Jul 24th

August

  • Friendship Day – Aug 5th
  • Bowling Day – Aug 11th
  • Tooth Fairy Day – Aug 22nd

September

  • Day of Encouragement  – Sep 12th
  • Talk Like a Pirate Day – Sep 19th
  • Family Health and Fitness Day – Sep 29th

October

  • Do Something Nice Day – Oct 5th
  • Mad Hatter Day – Oct 6th
  • Magic Day – Oct 31st

November

  • STEM/STEAM Day – Nov 8th
  • Philanthropy Day – Nov 15th
  • Day of Giving – Nov 27th

December

  • Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day – Dec 8th
  • Nobel Prize Day – Dec 10th
  • Thank –You Note Day – Dec 26th

Here are 62 ideas I posted last year, that are especially helpful as you plan for summer.

Personally, I am deeply saddened by the store closings.   I so enjoyed taking my children there, and I was looking forward to taking my grandchildren there too. I worked at Toys “R” Us for many years with amazing and talented people who will not only lose the traditions, but their jobs.

Change is the only constant, but we need to teach our children resilience.   I hope these ideas help all of us move on.

Wishing you the very best,

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

 

It’s time for the adults to be quiet

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

A child can teach an adult three things… To be happy for no reason. To always be busy with something. And to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires. Paulo Coelho

You remember the saying, ‘the adults are talking’ well perhaps it’s time to listen to the children.

The eloquence and empathy demonstrated by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students is truly encouraging.

Perhaps these children can succeed where adults’ efforts have not been realized.

We say, after (fill in a tragedy) if there has not been change, now, then when?

The adults mobilize, march and move on without impacting change. The victims’ families don’t get the luxury of moving on. Instead they get our short-term thoughts and prayers.

The children will not stop until there is change; they are relentless.

Let’s playback a scenario we can all relate to:

Scene – child and adult in a toy store

Child:       Can I have this?

Adult:      No, I don’t have any money.

Child:       You don’t need money, you have credit cards.

Adult:      I don’t have any money on my credit card for toys.

Child:       Sure you do.  You just bought shoes.

Adult:      I needed shoes.

Child:       I need this toy.

Adult:      You have toys.

Child:       You have shoes.

Adult:      Yes, but.

Conversation continues for 10 minutes more…..End scene with parent and child at checkout with a toy.

Like I said, they are relentless.  I have hope – the kids got this, and they won’t give up until they get what they want.

 

Have a great week, and have hope.

Sincerely,

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

Please look at me; listen to me

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

While technology puts the world at our fingertips, we need to connect with people. This is accomplished by simply paying attention.

The difference between hearing and listening is paying attention.

  • A pregnant woman steps on the E Train and is left standing. She isn’t offered a seat, but it’s not due to a lapse in manners.  No one was paying attention.
  • 156 women and girls that had participated in USA Gymnastics said in court that Larry Nassar sexually abused them over the past two decades as they were in his care. Despite their repeated concerns and complaints, the institutions that employed Nassar, including the US Olympic Committee, and Michigan State University turned a blind eye to the abuse.  Let the finger pointing begin.

Just pay attention.

 

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time to start new traditions

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

Michael & Matthew

Planning the perfect costume, only to have your child change his/her mind two days before.   Pulling the kids off the ceiling from the incredible sugar rush as they ate their way through their trick or treat bag. Rushing out of work in your Kohl’s holiday sweater with the pumpkin pockets so you would never miss a single Halloween parade.

As I think back on these moments, I smile and realize it was my time with my kids, and look forward to the realization that my adult children will get to build their own memories and traditions.

Where we pulled ideas from magazines, they have Pinterest. We took dozens of pictures of the kids and their friends in the hopes we had a single keeper; they post directly to Instagram, Facebook, and share Snapchat stories.

In the end, parents both past and present gets to have their moment. And despite how we get there or how it is shared, it is a tradition that each family gets to build, and the way each family creates their own culture.

Why does that matter you might ask? So that many years from now, you sit around a holiday table, and laugh about how perfectly imperfect it all works out.

And you smile happy tears that you had those moments. They are after all, your new traditions!

Happy Halloween!

 

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

 

 

How to show you genuinely care

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

“If you’re helping someone and expecting something in return, you’re doing business not kindness.” Unknown

Recently I held the door for an elderly woman leaving a Wells Fargo bank as I was entering.  She seemed preoccupied and didn’t return my smile. While I was being helped, this same woman came back to the counter and asked about her recent transaction.  The employee was visibly annoyed that she had to remind the woman she withdrew $100 from her savings.

I read about Wells Fargo’s post scandal scrutiny and $185 million fine for opening more than 2 million bank and credit card accounts without customers’ permission.  John Stumpf, the CEO, apologized and accepted full responsibility for unethical sales practices.  The source for deceptive practices stemmed from incentives and goals meant to motivate their workforce.

But their values claim they have a Culture of Caring SM.  They cared enough about that catchphrase to have it registered as a service mark.  Here is this vision from their site.

Culture of CaringSM

Our success has as much to do with attitude as aptitude — what’s in our hearts, not just our heads. Our success depends on how much we care for each other, our customers, our communities, and our stockholders. Our culture is reflected in the essence of our brand: “Together we’ll go farSM.” We want our team members to feel proud of working for a company that truly cares about people, goes the extra mile to do what’s right — in good times and bad — and believes that “better” is possible for everyone. Central to our culture are the following mindsets: • Caring. Caring is core to who we are. We always want to be warm, welcoming, and humble; to take the time to listen and genuinely understand; to have empathy during the tough times; and to make a positive difference in people’s lives.

Perhaps Wells Fargo needs to do more training.

For the rest of us, this should serve as a wake up call.  Are we using our words to teach and not demonstrating behavior that supports our talk?  That is not a mixed message, but a very clear one.  When raising children, they will do as you do, not as you say.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

What legacy will you leave behind?

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

Carry out a random act of kindness with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you. – Princess Diana

Parents wonder if our children hear our words, learn the lessons we try to share or see the actions we model. Yet sometimes we see a glimmer of hope as they perform a random act of kindness for a classmate or ask you to help a stranger.

At those times you secretly smile and think, ‘ah yes! It is working.’

Well if you ever have doubt, I suggest you look at Prince William and Prince Harry 20 years after their mother, Princess Diana’s death. Even though they were still relatively young when she died, they witnessed how she genuinely cared for those less fortunate and take up their own causes today.

Our children shouldn’t believe they are the center of the universe. It’s likely they are fortunate and should be encouraged to help others. There’s a commercial that really bothers me where a little girl asks viewers if she is cute and responds herself saying, “I think I am.” But then goes on to say that mom and dad can’t play with her because they are busy cleaning. Is it just me or does anyone else think that the cute little girl can help mom and dad? She gets to learn what is like to do a little housework and help mom and dad so everybody can play!

If we are concerned about the polarization of views in this country, a unifying view could be that kindness always makes things better. Anyone disagree with that?

Start kids thinking early about helping others. One way is to sponsor a child through Children Incorporated. Their mission is to provide resources to children in need in the United States and abroad. They passionately believe that children everywhere deserve education, hope and opportunity. Our kids may need to know every child doesn’t start out with the same advantages.

Like Princess Diana, our legacy is that we should leave the world a better place for our children. It may be a small start, but much like Saturday chores, why not make them active participants?

Have a great week!

 

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Follow me

Facebook

Twitter

When you realize you are friends with your children

Sunday, August 20th, 2017
Tina and Noelle

Tina and Noelle

Well before the Gilmore Girls made it popular to be friends with your daughter, Noelle and I had a relationship based on mutual love, respect, trust and laughter.

Now I’m realizing how much I’m learning from her. I don’t worry about keeping up with the digital age because she recommends websites, blogs and podcasts I should subscribe to, and provides valuable insight such as the groundbreaking decision that Allure magazine is no longer using the term anti-aging.

We do things that girlfriends do like sharing clothes and going to our favorite mall we affectionately refer to as our ‘mother ship’, even at a time where malls are becoming passé. We do it for the experience we’ve always enjoyed, which begins with shopping and ends with lunch because well, doesn’t that order makes sense?

She explains why the Khardasians are marketing geniuses because everything they touch turns to sold, and why she is moving from Snapchat to Instagram stories because she is always just ahead of the curve (remember kitten heels Noelle?)

She tells me what is cool, but at the same time suggests I not use that word.   We discuss politics on a daily basis, because there is always something to talk about, and there is a concern about the future, and the children she will have one day, and what we can do to make a difference.

We have our many traditions, including our favorite movies, Hokus Pokus for Halloween, Love Actually for Christmas and The Ten Commandments, reciting each line as we prepare our Easter raviolis. And the tradition of wishing you happy birthday at the exact moment you were born, August 21st 5:09am even if you took a day off!

Together, we may not be changing the world, or are we?  If everyone spent time building quality relationships with family and friends, that may be just the spark needed to start peace with others.

Even though parenting experts suggest not being friends with your children – I disagree. My daughter Noelle has made my life better, and who wouldn’t want a friend like that?

Happy birthday my sweetie – I love you with all my heart, and remember, I will always love you more.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Follow me

Facebook

Twitter

 

How can we stop the clock?

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

The circle of life is profound. There is a great similarity to parents caring for young children, and adult children as caretakers for aging parents.

The difference is where little children promise growth and potential, aging parents are about loss of capacity and decline.

Still, there is an incredible connection when young and old are together, representing an almost unspoken bond.

Both need to feel they are in control, whether it is the clothes they wear, food they eat, or when they go to bed.

Naps are a necessity!

Little children love to hear the same stories over and over again, while aging parents love to tell the same stories over and over again. The storytellers and listeners must maintain a consistent level of enthusiasm.

Perhaps the elders tell their stories over and over because they are afraid the lull in the conversation means the call or visit is over.

Perhaps children ask you to tell the same story over and over again, because they just love being with you, and don’t want it to end.

Both groups need your help with you everyday tasks; one is learning for the first time, while the other has forgotten.

There will come a time you will wish you were more patient, and you could turn back the clock and pay attention to little people or the elders that mean everything to you.

We haven’t found a way to stop the clock, so find moments to celebrate and laugh, and enjoy how wonderful it is to be needed.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Follow me on Facebook 

Kids are always teaching us how to spell love

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away a man named George Lucas wrote a story about a western set in the future. No one believed in his story except one Hollywood studio that gave him a movie deal. George opted to take less money in exchange for something quite futuristic called licensing rights.

The rest is retail history.

Also, a long time ago in another galaxy (the East Coast), a different George named Carlin had a futuristic view of people having too much stuff.   This concept is one of the reasons the retail industry is in its current death spiral – not to be confused with the death star.

In their never ending quest for product sales, retailers lost sight of what matters more than things, and that is experiences.

About ten years ago I realized my nephews, much like my own kids, had too much stuff. I wasn’t the biggest fan of gift cards because I felt they were a lazy form of gift giving.   With their birthdays and Christmas relatively close, I stopped giving gifts in favor of an experience we call ‘cousins’ weekend’.

Our nephews would gather at our house and play games all weekend, ranging from basketball in the park, to teaching them Brooklyn classics like ‘moonies up’ to card games, board games, bowling and BBQs always ending on the Saturday night with letting them (finally) play video games. As they got older, the games changed to include an escape room, and a trampoline park.

The short-term gift was the fun they had with each other. The longer-term gift was the relationships they formed. Even after ten years, they still love this time together.

Retailers can’t package and sell these experiences, but caring families can.

After all, children spell love T-I-M-E.

Have fun!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

Why Moms Don’t Actually Need Gifts

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

I was listening to a podcast by Simon Sinek, whose TED Talk is the third most popular presentation of all time; he often talks about givers vs. takers.

It dawned on me that’s why mothers are universally loved – because they are unconditional givers.

As givers, they don’t want anything in return except to see the manifestation of their selfless acts reflected in their children, which can often reveal years down the line.

But they patiently wait, continue to give and model the behavior they want their children to emulate.

The ultimate gift is when the giving is passed on. It’s the 5th grader whose teacher compliments his kindness to the new kids, or the college student who puts family over partying, or the new dad who simply adores his baby.

So what does mom want for Mother’s Day?

More of these gifts, though some time alone, a bottle of wine and a spa gift card wouldn’t hurt!

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

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®