Archive for the ‘Daily Inspirational Call’ Category

What Would You Do?

Monday, July 16th, 2007

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I received the following email.

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Today was a first for me… My daughter (5) and I pulled into a local store.

The spot I wanted to pull into was empty except for a woman who had her car door open and was loading groceries with her two small children still outside the car in the empty spot. Instead of hurrying the mom and scaring the children, I drove around to a spot further away.

My daughter thought I was parking and took her car seat belt off. I parked and took her out kissing and hugging her and went on my way. To my surprise, when I got back to my car there was a note from the young mother on my windshield with a paper from your website.

It said it was a stupid ticket and that she gave it to me for not having my daughter in a car restraining seat, and went further to say if I loved her I would keep her safe.

At first I was offended that she did not say it to me rather than leave it behind on my car. If she did she would know not only do I have car seats for my kids I made my older daughter who is now 10 and 5’2” sit in a booster seat until she was 9 to be safe. PA law is 8 years old or 4′ and although my daughter surpassed those marks she still sat in the seat. I also have been part of car seat safety checks two years in a row at a local dealership in my area.

My younger daughter took her belt off today because 1) she now can and
2) because I stopped to park. I did reiterate that she should not take her belt off until the car is off.

I don’t agree with the woman who did this. She mentioned she was a nurse and that she saw kids in terrible ways. I will give her the benefit of the doubt that maybe something shook her world and she is out there living with that.

I hope your website does not advocate people to be quick to judge, to run away with a hurtful note left behind.

– Mom from Pennsylvania

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I was really moved by this mom’s email and told her that at Parental Wisdom, we really try NOT to judge, and recognize there are misunderstandings (like this one) and mistakes because parents are often doing a number of things at once.

Yes, the Stupid Ticket is one of the Free Reports on the Parental Wisdom website. But stupidity is something that people do repeatedly and not ever learn a lesson. For that reason, we also have a Safety Ticket which is a reminder of the things you already know; and presents a much kinder, gentler approach.

Back to the parent that left the note – I do understand why she didn’t talk to the parent directly. Parents could be defensive at the very least, and violent at the worst. The dilemma – what should parents do if they see a situation that raises child safety concerns?

I reached out to Robert A. Brasky of the Lake Zurich Police Department in Illinois is an expert on Traffic Safety to learn what parents can do if a child is potentially in danger. The example I used was a time I spotted a three-year-old was left alone in a running car. His response, “Call the police and give them the information. Do not approach the parents.” Safe and sound advice.

Robert also shared the alarming statistic that approximately 95% of child car seats are improperly installed. To make sure you aren’t one of them, visit www.car-seat.org to learn what you can do, and www.nhtsa.gov to find locations where your child’s carseat can be checked for proper installation.

But let’s talk about you for a moment…

How would you respond to a situation where a child could be in danger?
How would you respond to someone correcting you about your own child’s safety?

Please leave a comment and let us know.

Parents are actually bus drivers

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

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Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.

-Albert Einstein, US (German-born) physicist (1879 – 1955)

Have you noticed how conscientious first time parents are? They research product safety better than Consumer Reports as they begin parenting by the Hippocratic Oath which says, ‘First, do no harm.’

When children are little, we understand our job is to keep them safe. But as they grow, we have to remember their safety is still our job. A toddler asking to wear stripes and polka-dots is negotiable, but being safely secured into a carseat is not.

As parents, we get numerous job descriptions but it can be summarized to one title – bus driver. We take our children on a journey from infancy to adulthood. Just like a bus there will be stops along the way in the form of outside influences such as family, friends, teachers, coaches, the media, our children’s friends, the list is endless. But the bus will go where the bus driver steers it.

Sometimes parents like to put the bus in cruise control and not think for themselves, or take the easy way out. Children are required by law to sit in carseats, later in booster seats, and that they wear helmets when riding bikes. There are laws that prohibit teens from drinking until they are 21, but parents take a lackadaisical attitude when they get push back from their kids; especially true regarding teenage drinking. “Well, they’re going to drink anyway.” If they did homework on the effects of teenage drinking they would have a totally different perspective.

Are these the same parents that got down on their hands and knees to look for exposed electrical outlets to protect their toddlers? What we know about teenage drinking is that 40% of the people that drink before age 15 go on to become alcoholics at some point in their lives. What we now know about the teenage brain is that the prefrontal cortex which is responsible for reasoning is the last part of the brain to develop. That is why it is hard for teenagers to distinguish the difference between going home after school to do homework, or going drinking with their friends. In fact that area of the brain isn’t fully developed until age 24. Interestingly, you have to be 25 to rent a car.

The best approach to trust and teens is the same theory that Ronald Regan used in foreign policy; trust but verify.

An awkward conversation between teen parents may involve one parent verifying with another that their teen is invited over, that an adult will be home and there will be no alcohol.

A far more awkward conversation begins with a knock on the door, and opens to find a police officer and member of the clergy on the other side.

Parents – please, drive your bus.

Adapted from Because Kids Don’t Come With Manuals by Tina Nocera

The Real Secret

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

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On February 8, 2007 Oprah Winfrey presented ‘The Secret’ on her show. Email responses were so overwhelming her website nearly crashed.

In case you haven’t heard about it, The Secret is a DVD based on the law of attraction which says like attracts like; we attract into our lives the things we want and create our own reality which is fueled by our thoughts.

That might explain why we have such problems with young people and destructive behaviors. We are focusing on, and giving too much attention to the wrong young people.

Their lives are filled with rehab, DUI, and drugs. Their celebrity status gets them into clubs, creates media frenzy, and introduced words like paparazzi to our regular vocabulary. Does our interest in these stories cause legitimate news networks to run them as lead stories, or is it that we simply can’t escape the news about these women? I will mention their names just once; Paris, Lindsay and Britney, and that’s all I’ll say.

Instead, let’s turn our attention to some positive adolescents. Perhaps the real secret is as simple as focusing on, and talking about good influences. That is, if you want to see more of this behavior….

Mattie Stepanek was a young man who had every reason to be angry. He was born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy and had lost three older siblings to the same illness. He began writing poetry as a toddler and published five uplifting books with messages of hope before he died in 2004, shortly before his 14th birthday. Former President Jimmy Carter delivered a eulogy at Mattie’s funeral and said that although he has known kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers, Mattie was the most extraordinary person he has ever known. I met Mattie when publishing a parenting newsletter for Toys “R” Us, and he wrote that how important it was to remember how to play after a storm.

In January 2006, Kari Janisse was a young woman busy working and planning a wedding. But she put herself second when she heard that a former high school teacher was very ill. In her senior year of high school, ‘Mr. B’ as she liked to call him taught a class that was supposed to be about communication. In reality the class of 22 learned a lot about life. The effect of that class had such a positive impact on her that when she heard her teacher was gravely ill, the student became the teacher. Every Tuesday evening for the year and a half he struggled with brain cancer, Kari would drive to Mr. B’s house after work and read to him. She started with Tuesdays with Morrie, and when done, went onto to The Five People You Meet in Heaven, both by Mitch Albom. He died before she could read For One More Day. As she told me, when people thought he was so lucky to have her constant dedication, her answer was simple, “No, I’m the lucky one to have this special time with him, to thank him for what he has done for me.”

Jason McElwain informally nicknamed J-Mac, is an autistic American teenager who graduated from Greece Athena High School, a suburb of Rochester, NY in 2006. You may have heard about his amazing feat of scoring twenty points in four minutes during a high school basketball game on February 16, 2006; the last home game of the 2005-2006 season for Greece Athena. Jason wasn’t supposed to play that game, and in fact Jason had never played any game, but the coach grateful for Jason’s constant support and encouragement for the team, told him he could suit up and sit on the bench. When the team was ahead, the coach signaled Jason to play. Everyone was thrilled for Jason’s incredible accomplishment, but I was also overwhelmed by the students in the stands. They didn’t know if Jason would actually get to play, but they were prepared waving his picture for every basket he scored. When he threw his last three-pointer with no time left on the clock the crowd went crazy. These were kids who totally supported this autistic boy. Too often we hear about bullying and teasing, but perhaps the support of his classmates is why Jason was able to accomplish the impossible.

Perhaps we all need to hear more about good kids. It also be might be why CBS is introducing a show in their fall lineup called Kid Nation – 40 kids, 40 days, no adults. The question is – can they build a better world than adults? One can only hope.

Dad, I want to be just like you

Sunday, June 10th, 2007

A wise person once said that a father’s love for his children is greater than the children’s love for the father. The magnitude of that love cannot be appreciated until a child becomes a father himself.

We’re featuring stories about dads each day this week on Parental Wisdom’s Daily Inspirational Call Line. Dial in (641) 985-5999 ext. 24290#. You can participate by sending a story via email to stories@parentalwisdom.com or leave a message on the call line number (above).

Today’s fathers are very involved in their children’s lives. They change diapers, coach sports, chaperone school trips, help with homework, give baths, and tuck children into bed. Non-custodial fathers without even knowing the schedule, show up at their children’s sporting events because it’s important for them to be there.

Dads are good at being dads. But are we still good at being children? If your father is still with you, do you appreciate him? The objective of our daily inspirational call line this week is simple; to remind you how lucky you are that you can tell your dad how much you care. Better yet, perhaps we can even change some behaviors:

You will not let the call go to voice mail when you see his familiar number appear on caller id.
You will listen to his stories one more time, just as he read the same story to you hundreds of times.
You will tell him how much you appreciate what he means to you now, and how much you learned from him rather than wait till you deliver a heartfelt eulogy
That he taught you everything you need to know about character and perseverance by the simple eloquence of his example

I was inspired by Annie Fox, a Parental Wisdom advisor, who wrote a letter of thanks to her dad, who she lost too early.

We’ll be reviewing a great new book for dad for evaluation of the Good Parenting seal entitled Big Slick Daddy: Poker Strategies for Parenting Success by Mark J. Borowski. If you are interested in reviewing this book, simply send an email to tina@parentalwisdom.com and I can share more information.

Finally, please visit Parental Wisdom Free Reports to get some fun Dad Coupons that your children can share with their dads.
Hope you tune in to the daily call.

What High School Graduates Need Most

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

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“I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and advise them to do it.”
– Harry S. Truman 33rd President

As parents we celebrate a series of ‘firsts’
First smile
First word
First day of school

And in the blink of an eye, we celebrate ‘lasts’
Last spring concert
Last ball game
Last day of school

It’s a rite of passage for all of us.

We have grown up with the families of our children’s classmates for 13 years and have shared many memorable events. At graduation, one last time we’ll sit together with our cameras positioned as happy tears stream down our faces. We’ll look at these accomplished young people, but remember them as little children with missing teeth, which then turned to braces, and have now become beautiful, confident smiles.

We have nothing but hope for their future, and are blessed with the memories they’ve given us. It’s funny when raising the children the hours go so slowly but the years fly by.

Despite the many gifts they’ll receive for graduation, the one they need most is the one we’ve already given them. But a gentle reminder won’t hurt. The best gift is a life compass which will help guide our children through the next phase of their journey. It’s our teaching what’s important; something that each family can decide for themselves.

As your children chart off to college, write them a letter reminding them of your own family’s life compass. It will be something they can refer to since you won’t be close by to pick up their socks or their spirits. This way if they go off course, they can find their way back again.

Be grateful to the people who had a positive influence on your children including their teachers, friends, family and others that treated them with respect and expected the same in return. Finally, be proud of the person you raised, and optimistic about the world they will create.

A wonderful gift that I’ll be buying for the high school graduates in our life is the new book by one of our advisors, Dr. Rob Gilbert of Montclair State University (NJ) entitled How To Have Fun Without Failing Out: 430 Tips From a College Professor. which was just awarded the Good Parenting seal.

On Monday June 4th, we will have an interview with Dr. Gilbert on our Daily Inspirational Call Line (641) 985-5999 ext. 24290# and feature exerpts from his book every day this week.

Child of the Day

Friday, June 1st, 2007

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Kathy couldn’t handle her two young children’s bickering; each one was vying for her attention. More importantly, she didn’t like playing the role of an umpire. To turn it around, she started “child of the day” at her house. Each day, Mary or Kenny would be child of the day, and his name would appear on the family calendar that hung on the fridge.

“Child of the day” was a combination of responsibilities and rewards. For example, the child of the day gets to choose which book is read first, who takes a bath first, etc. Although each child is responsible for his or her own chores and cleaning up after himself, the child of the day is responsible for the little things that come up, like getting a spare roll of paper towels.

It worked so well that the petty arguments virtually disappeared. Years later Kathy asked each child to tell her who her favorite was. They each replied, “Me!” That’s when she realized “child of the day” worked. Both children were right; each child is her favorite.

How else could you explain how parents find enough love in their hearts for each child that comes along?

Healthy Eating

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

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The Journal of the American Dietetics Association talks about the 72% healthy eating solution.

They claim that meal-servers control 72% of what families eat. Think of yourself as the nutritional gatekeeper – the one who buys, prepares, and serves the meals controls 72% of what their family eats inside and outside of the home, and the supplements used for this always help, even more for people in fitness routine, since there are sites online where they sell them, check out swolhq to find the best options for this.

The family chef shouldn’t worry so much about pleasing picky palates because unlike what most people think, hungry family members are almost always going to eat what is prepared for them.

What we feed our children and the behavior we model is too important to leave to chance.

Plan your weekly menu even inviting every family member to request their favorite meal. This stops us from getting the blame about preparing the same old stuff all the time.

Leave healthy cookbooks and magazines like Cooking Light around the kitchen to encourage new food choices. Make your children part of the food shopping experience which is a great way to discuss healthy food choices, reading packages and weighing items (great math activity).

Watch cooking shows on the Food Network together.

I found a great way to manage family favorites. You will need MS Excel and your family favorites. To see how to create your own simple spreadsheet, visit Parental Wisdom Free Reports and print out a copy of Family Favorite Recipes. You will find a example and instructions how to create your own.

Turn the battle about food into something positive.

A well known story about goals

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

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Here is a well-known story about goals.

An American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village where a small boat with just one fisherman was docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied “only a little while”

The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish.

The Mexican said, “I had enough to support my family’s immediate needs.”

The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time? “

The fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, senor.”

The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard M.B.A. and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat with the proceeds. From the bigger boat you could buy several boats and eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”

Fisherman – “But what then, senor? “

The American laughed and said “that’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions. “

Fisherman “Millions, senor? Then what? “

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.“

How are you doing on your goals?

Encouraging Mistakes

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

Is it my imagination or are children today afraid of making mistakes? That is so disappointing because making mistakes is the best way to learn. Us older folks know that life isn’t about perfection, but persistence.

Sarah Blakely is the young woman who invented Spanks, which are now a household word and enjoy sales in the 100 million dollar range. For those of you not familiar with Spanks it is the modern equivalent of the girdle and a lot more effective.

In Sarah’s story about how she got to be successful, she credits her father who encouraged her to make mistakes. She would come home from school and say, “Dad, I tried out for Student Council and I lost.” He would give her a high five for trying, not winning.

His response encouraged her to continue trying at lots of things. So when she kept hearing no in response to her revolutionary new design – she kept trying.

It’s simple – reward the effort, not the outcome and eventually the outcome will be the reward.

Let’s teach our kids that you don’t drown by falling in water, you drown by staying there.

Do you want your child to be a plumber or philosopher?

Monday, May 28th, 2007

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With the carefree days of summer approaching, we have a great opportunity to help our children figure out what they might want to be when they grow up. It doesn’t matter how young they are, exploring possibilities is always a good idea.

There are a number of reasons it makes sense to investigate careers early:

Children that see a potentially bright future are less likely to follow bad influences because they realize mistakes could jeopardize their future.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
Explore…Dream…Discover. – Mark Twain

It gives parents a way to build relationships with children, which puts both in a “learning mode” since neither may be an expert in a
new field.

I am still learning. -Michelangelo’s motto

Discovery is as much about figuring out what you don’t want to do. How frustrating it must be to get accepted to medical school only to learn that you faint at the sight of blood.

It’s not your blue blood, your pedigree or your college degree. It’s what you do with your life that counts. -Millard Fuller

We can’t live vicariously through our children. It is their career, not ours. All the great commencement speeches talk about doing something you are passionate about. Help your children to find out what that means to them.

The trusted plumbers in Louisville, KY are infinitely more admirable than an incompetent philosopher. The society, which scorns excellence in
plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity, will
have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor theories will hold water. -John Gardner

For more inspiration, visit Parental Wisdom Free Reports and print a copy of Project Imagine!

Or read the chapter on Project Imagine in Because Kids Don’t Come With Manuals.

For daily inspiration, call the Parental Wisdom Daily Inspirational Call line
(641) 985-5999 ext. 24290#

It’s like a vitamin for parents