Archive for the ‘Conflict’ Category

The value in finding a common enemy

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

To me… it appears that there have been differences of opinion and party differences, from the first establishment of government to the present day, and on the same question which now divides our own country; that these will continue through all future time; that every one takes his side in favor of the many, or of the few, according to his constitution, and the circumstances in which he is placed. – Thomas Jefferson


This is a call to action to move from divisiveness to finding common ground, which can be achieved by addressing common societal enemies.


A few disparate events in my life highlight the challenges we have listening to each other.

  • My six-month old grandson Matthew was ‘talking’ to me in baby babble. I had no way to understand what he was saying but nevertheless I listened because it was obvious what he had to say was quite important.
  • My daughter Noelle’s wedding was exactly one month before the Presidential election. We strongly discouraged political conversation.
  • We had a Thanksgiving rule at our house. At the dinner table, phones and politics were not allowed. It was a lovely dinner!
  • I have good friends that attended the Inauguration on January 20th, and I have good friends that attended marches on January 21st.

We are not able to communicate with each other because we have vastly differing points of view and refuse to listen to each other. We gravitate to those with the same point of view, but don’t engage in conversation with those who don’t see things the same way. With a few notable exceptions, such as Hitler and Osama bin Laden, people are rarely pure evil.

Yet when there is a crisis, such as a multi vehicle car wreck, we don’t ask about political affiliation, but immediately jump in to help. People are amazed at their strength and ability to work together.

It is that thinking that we need now to creatively solve distinct and different problems to demonstrate how we can work together by starting with things we agree on. By engaging in real conversation, you know the kind where one person is talking and the other is really listening…we can create persuasive arguments.

Here is one to get us started; there is a crisis in quality childcare for many working parents, isolation for many elders, and college costs so high that it is impossible for students to even consider college.

What if we combined the challenges of those groups, and found solutions so they could help each other?


If you’ve got a better idea how to fix this, I’m listening.


Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®


Do we really want balance or peace?

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

You could have balance, but what if balance meant challenges or conflicts both at work and home.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”  Plato

As a leader, you don’t have to solve employees’ problems at home, but you should at least ask so you can understand what people might be dealing with so they can have peace at work.  That question gave me these two (shareable) stories:

Story 1: A manager with two kids, a boy 12 and a girl 4, had been covering for me while I was out on vacation.  When I returned, we were reviewing a situation, and both realized he missed an update. He stopped and explained what had gone on the day before.

He had planned to take his wife out to lunch for her birthday but work ‘fires’ had to be put out, so instead he promised her a nice family dinner.  That is until they were about to leave for dinner, and his daughter asked him how rocks were supposed to taste.

“Rocks?!  You ate a rock?”

She held up five fingers.

“You ate five rocks?”

They spent what was supposed to be a nice family dinner in the emergency room.  It was understandable why he would have missed the update.  The little girl was OK.  Turned out she ate newly spread mulch.

Story 2: When meeting with a new person on my team, I expected questions about the job.  But I always begin by asking how things are at home.  She said she would like a little less conflict; she has three girls.  Not horrible conflict, just chronic.

Her girls do what most parents have experienced where our kids believe our role is to referee, calling the shots on every play.

“She picked the movie last time!”

“Well she never helps bring in the groceries!”

A technique that worked really well for me called ‘Child of the Day’ which is a very simple system of responsibility and rewards.  Each day you mark on the calendar who is child of the day. When it came time to decide what story to read, what movie to watch, or what snack to eat, the decision went to the child of the day. That was the reward part.

The responsibility part is about things that need to get done, but were not necessarily a particular person’s chore.  Those would go to the child of the day.  For example, if I need something out of the pantry, I would ask, “Who is child of the day?”
This approach took me out of the middle. Now, my children are both adults, and if you ask them who the favorite child is, they will both say, “Me!” This really works.

Child of the Day is one of the many expert responses to parents questions in Parents Ask, Experts Answer: Nurturing Happy, Healthy Children.  Yes, this is a shameless book plug!  But please do take a look at the book available for presell on Amazon.


Have a wonderful week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

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Two very powerful words – Do Over

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011



The good news about the summer is that families get together at reunions, barbeques and other happy events.  The bad news is those gatherings can be ripe with tension.

Like most of the life lessons I learned as a kid, one that sticks in my mind is the simple phrase, do over

Our children listen to our words, but even more closely observe our actions.  Families have disagreements and conflicts and may say hurtful things that can’t be taken back.   These conflicts are sometimes unavoidable.

When conflicts happen, call a do-over, just like you did when you were a kid because your kids are watching.

Quarrels would not last long if the fault were only on one side. – Duke François de La Rochefoucauld

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®