Archive for the ‘Responsibility’ Category

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®

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We must not give our children too much

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Your children need your presence more than your presents.  – Jesse Jackson

Privileged Texas teen Ethan Couch was charged in the deaths of four pedestrians while driving drunk.

His attorney used the ‘affluenza’ defense claiming that he had a sense of entitlement and was irresponsible.  His poor behavior was due to the fact that his parents did not set proper boundaries.

The judge gave the teen 10 years of probation for the fatal accident. Prosecutors were seeking the maximum 20-year prison sentence.

In the season of giving, you may want to give your children less in terms of material things.

You may want to consider the four gift rule:

  1. 1 thing they want
  2. 1 thing they need
  3. 1 thing they wear
  4. 1 thing they read

You are probably done shopping now.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

We need another hero

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.

Albert Schweitzer

We took a trip to Gettysburg when my son Michael was in middle school and a Civil War reenactor. With his commentary, we walked Picket’s Charge and learned so much more than facts you learn in school.  He explained how we lost a generation of good young men that would have been husbands and fathers.  That profound loss and sacrifice reinforces the point that Memorial Day is about understanding, remembering, and paying respect to those that served our country and paid the ultimate sacrifice so the rest of us could enjoy our freedom.

Unlike the song, we don’t need another hero, we always need heroes. 

On this Memorial Day, I want to thank my son, serving the US Army in Afghanistan along with all those serving, and thank their families as well.  To walk in their shoes, much like the way we walked Picket’s Charge, is a good way to understand.

Here are some youth group organizations that salute military opportunities:

  • National Middle School Cadet Corps – a program is designed to introduce middle school students to responsible leadership roles while serving as a bridge facilitating a smooth transition into high school.
  • Young Marines – a youth education and service program for boys and girls, ages 8 through completion of high school. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral, and physical development of its members. The program focuses on character building, leadership, and promotes a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. The Young Marines is the focal point for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Youth Drug Demand Reduction efforts.
  • U.S. Army Cadet Corps – following the emphasis on youth development which has been targeted by the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army Cadet Corps utilizes the spirit, traditions, and models of the U.S. Army to further the development of America’s youth.  The development of body, mind, and spirit are the key elements of this program.  These elements are stimulated through close order drill, precision military formations, physical fitness, martial arts, and the privilege of wearing an Army uniform.  Skill areas include instruction in both basic military and high adventure training, such as Rappelling and Mountain Climbing; Map, Compass, and Land Navigation; Marksmanship and Weapons Safety; First Aid and Water Survival; and Scuba Diving.  Instruction is given in both classroom and hands-on environments.
  • Civil Air Patrol – Cadets fly, learn to lead, hike, camp, get in shape, and push themselves to new limits. If you’re dreaming about a career in aviation, space, or the military, CAP’s Cadet Program is for you.
  • U.S. Army Junior ROTC – Providing a quality citizenship, character, and leadership development program, while fostering partnerships with communities and educational institutions.
  •  U.S. Naval Seal Cadets – Through organization and cooperation with the Department of the Navy, to encourage and aid American youth to develop, train them in seagoing skills, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance and kindred virtues.

The picture at the beginning of this post is Michael as a little boy celebrating the return of our troops from Operation Desert Storm in Nutley, NJ in 1992.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day, and be sure to thank a solider for their service.

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I actually left the house like this, we weren’t robbed

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” -Confucius

You made a promise to yourself this wouldn’t happen again this school year.  But you aren’t certain the kitchen counter is even there anymore because it is covered with school notes, art work, party invitations, doctor appointment reminders, permission notes, picture forms, meeting and club notices, junk mail, newspapers, and bills buried somewhere in piles. 

And its dinnertime and you have no idea what dinner is going to be.  At our house, it got so bad that I would leave my husband a note in case he came home first.  “No, we weren’t robbed; I actually left the place like this.” 

I am not going to get all Martha Stewart on you because it’s difficult to get to that degree of organization, but it can be better and in your control.  It begins with simplicity.

Here are a few tips that might help:

  • When papers come in, they all go in one in-basket; go through them only one time.
    • Create file folders numbered 1 to 31 and separate folders labeled Jan to Dec.  If papers have date such as party invitations, doctor appointments, bills that are due, etc. they do in the respective monthly folder. 
    • If the due date is the current month, the papers are filed in the appropriate day folder; 1 to 31.  If you follow this process, you will never lose any papers.  
    • Art work can be placed in pizza boxes or rolled up in cardboard paper towel rolls. You can also add other folders such as gift ideas, receipts, or others that apply to you and your family.
  • Keys are always put in the same place, a key holder near the door.
  • Kids each get a place for shoes, sports gear and a basket with their name.  If needed, have another basket for the stuff they are responsible for.
      • They are in charge of emptying the baskets.  Nothing gets dumped on the floor.  For very young children, put their picture and name so they get started early and understand they are part of the household.
      • Book bags are on hooks, and when the weather gets cooler, so are coats.  Position the hooks low enough for the kids to reach them.
  • Purchase or create a mom calendar with a different spots for each family member.
  • Now for meals… Ask each family member to write down their favorite meal ideas; do this each season.   Little kids can participate if you show them pictures of healthy foods.

Since each family member contributes to the chaos, they should contribute to crafting a solution to better organization.  What ideas can you share?

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

No apology needed if you skip the behavior

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

There were two incidents in the news that should cause us to stop and ask an important question; if we judge the degree of civilization of a society by the way it treats its weakest members, then how do we measure up?  

Those incidents involved the two weakest members in our society; the young and the old. 

The Young -The Sandusky trial ended this week with a conviction on 45 of 48 criminal counts related to the alleged assault of 10 boys over a 15-year period.  In an earlier blog, I wrote, Do We Need Laws to Protect our Children?  Sandusky will get life sentence; just like his victims.

The OldKaren Klein was a bus lady mercilessly taunted by seventh grade boys. 

There was a public outcry on both issues; now come the public apologies.

When are we going to learn that it is better to stop bad behavior in its tracks? Why were there so many Sandusky victims?  What was legally done was not enough.  Were there no students on the bus that could stand up for the bus lady?

Between the young and old are the rest of us, and we are expected to do the right thing, right away.  

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

If everyone gets trophies then trophies become meaningless

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

 

This time of year, there are many commencement speeches, in fact no fewer than 37,000 which is the number of high schools alone in the U.S.  

But the speech by Wellesley High English teacher David McCullough Jr. is blunt and honest because he told students they “are not special.”

Here is a brief exerpt from his speech:

“Across the country no fewer than 3.2 million seniors are graduating about now from more than 37,000 high schools. That’s 37,000 valedictorians … 37,000 class presidents … 92,000 harmonizing altos … 340,000 swaggering jocks … 2,185,967 pairs of Uggs,” he said.

He added: “Even if you’re one in a million, on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are nearly 7,000 people just like you.”

McCullough makes a statement on parents who overdo it in a modern society focused on collecting achievements. “You’ve been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble wrapped … feted and fawned over and called sweetie pie.” But he adds in a video on Wellesley Channel TV YouTube page, “You see, if everyone is special, then no one is. If everyone gets a trophy, trophies become meaningless. … We have of late, we Americans, to our detriment, come to love accolades more than genuine achievement.”

The point is that learning is wonderful, mistakes happen and experience makes you stronger.  All time is borrowed so make the most of it.  Work backwards as to how you would want people to talk about you in this short time we call life. 

You Only Live Once, but as the speaker says, that doesn’t mean you have to get YOLO as a tattoo. 

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

 

Do we need laws to protect our children?

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

If our American way of life fails the child, it fails us all.
-Pearl S. Buck

This morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Tom Corbett, the attorney general who started the investigation of formerPennStatedefensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, said that the law should be changed to make sure reports of alleged child sexual abuse are made to government authorities.

Do we need to wait for laws to protect our children?

There is a public awareness campaign encouraging the public to contact local authorities if they see something suspicious.  The nationwide launch of “If You See Something, Say Something™” has proven to be very successful as commuters pay attention to packages at airports, bus terminals and train stations. 

Our children are innocent and must be protected from sexual abuse and corporal punishment.  A disturbing video surfaced showing a Texas County Judge beating his disabled daughter with a belt; it was viewed over 2 million times.

There is a saying that we judge a society by something called the burning building theory which says, that if a building was burning and your child was inside no doubt you would rush in to save your child.  But a society is judged by the willingness of citizens to rush in to save the life of any child. 

We shouldn’t need laws to do the right thing.  We should do something simply because it is the right thing to do.

 Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Sorry I have been out of touch for a while.

The last time I wrote was on Veteran’s Day, November 11th 2010 where I mentioned Operation Gratitude, a program to thank those who serve in the military.

Next came Thanksgiving and the good news that my son would be home from Iraq for Christmas, which gave us the most wonderful reason to be thankful.   With both my children home, Michael from Iraq, and Noelle from college, it was an amazing holiday with a very white post holiday Christmas that hasn’t quite stopped yet.

There is good to everything, even this overwhelming snow.  In picking up where we left off…this week Michelle Obama appeared on Oprah to discuss how we can help military families.  Stay tuned, here is where it all ties together….

With the snow, out came the neighbors who shoveled more than their own front walks, cars, and driveways.  They started talking again, sometimes even meeting for the first time, or burying the hatchet (or shovel so to speak) to help each other.

No level of social networking can ever be as helpful, or real, or needed, as the human touch.

I think the snow is very symbolic as to what can happen.  Think about this, a single snowflake is small, unique and beautiful, but look what happens when snowflakes stick together.

Just imagine what we can do if we all stick together!

For now, let’s take the lead as Michele Obama suggests, and look to meet our neighbors in need, especially the families of those serving in the military.

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

Have a wonderful week, and there will be more on this topic!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Reasons why parents are smarter than BP

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Mazel Tov!

A new cap has been successfully placed on the top of the busted oil well.  The job of a  Monday morning quarterback is always easy, but perhaps BP could take a page from successful parents.

Being a great parent is as simple as paying attention to the little hairs on the back of your neck.  By that I mean parents are aware of subtle changes in behavior; responding and monitoring situations appropriately before things get so out of control that the top blows off.

In the case of BP, you can take that literally.  In the case of parents, here are a few scenarios where situations spiral out of control making them equally difficult to recover from when parents are not paying attention to the little things:

  1. The CEO that isn’t invited to his daughter’s wedding
  2. The seven-year-old that curses out his parents
  3. The 15-year-old who falls face down in the street because he is high

Sometimes a simple reminder is all that is needed.

Please visit Parental Wisdom® to get a copy of the free report “Parenting Rules to Live By” from my book Because Kids Don’t Come With Manuals®.

It’s a perfect souvenir for the most valuable piece of real estate in America – your refrigerator door!

Have a great day!

-Tina Nocera, Founder

Too much reliance on my GPS

Thursday, February 4th, 2010
I’ve been used to my GPS constantly correcting me and requesting that I make a legal U-turn when possible; but the other day it simply didn’t work.  There I was, left to fend for myself.
Quite frankly I am directionally challenged, and not able to look at a map and figure out where I am or where I’m headed. At that point I realized how much dependency I put on the GPS, and now it failed me.  In reality I failed myself by not having enough of a foundation to figure things out.  I realized that without the GPS, I was lost.
There isn’t any difference in the world of parenting.  Our job is to give our children a good foundation, but it’s the confidence they build in handling situations that creates one of life’s most important characteristics; self reliance.  Much like me without the GPS, your children will be lost without self-reliance.
Think about how we teach children to ride a two-wheeler.  You put the training wheels on and then kept loosening them up little by little until they are confident enough to take the ride without any training wheels at all.
p.s. Great hint – -when you’re running along side the bike, it’s a great idea for you to be in rollerblades.  It makes the job so much easier!
Here are some ways to make sure that you’re heading in the right direction in teaching self-reliance (no pun intended):
  1. Let the kids make some decisions as early as possible.  So what if they’re wearing stripes and polka-dots?
  2. Demonstrate that you are always solving little problems and learning along the way.  Aren’t you?  After all, who figured out how to install the new TV?
  3. Move from being ‘the all wise and powerful’ mom or dad to a coach.  Tell them less about how they should do something, and instead raise questions they could answer for themselves.  “Why do you think your friends responded that way?”
  4. Be a great support system.  They might need your encouragement to try again, or a little harder, or in taking a slightly different approach.  If they come to you for permission to give up, don’t make it so easy for them.
  5. Responsibilities are very important for building self reliance.  Even with very young children, assign chores that make them part of a family that works together.  For example, for a child as young as age 3, take digital pictures of them making their bed; 1) put the pillow in place, 2) smooth the sheets and lift the blankets, and 3) lift and smooth out the comforter.  Laminate the pictures and put them near the bed so they can see how well they did.
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