Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

Choosing to recover from Sandy Hook

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

  

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” — Mister Rogers

I drove on Rt. 95 North in Connecticut today and spotted a billboard that said, ‘Sandy Hook chooses love’.  Perhaps that is how we begin to recover, we choose love.  

The young students of Sandy Hook returned to school this week to familiar surroundings thanks to thoughtful community support. They lit up when they saw their desks, book bags, teachers and friends.   Children are wonderfully resilient and always looking for the good in people.  They look to love.

This holiday season, there was a deep sadness we felt for the victims’ families because we knew that it wasn’t just this Christmas they would be missing, but every Christmas, every birthday, every first day of school.  There is an emptiness that won’t end for the families.

We’re also filled with fear that this could happen anywhere to anyone.  When our children ask if they are safe, how do we honestly respond?  How do we confidently send them off to school?

I’ve thought about this a lot since the Sandy Hook Elementary school incident happened, and wondered how we could answer these questions for our children and our own peace of mind.

There are actually a few answers:

As Mr. Rogers suggests, look to the helpers.  Fortunately, the good people in the world are in the majority. Though this speaks to our outlook; having a good frame of mind isn’t enough.

We can make things better by influencing and insisting on the change that must happen such as: 

  • Fewer guns, better screening and a ban on semi-automatic weapons. 
  • The 113th Congress just started their session. Why didn’t the previous Congress do something, and why didn’t we?
  • See my blog post from July 2012 following the shooting in Aurora CO ‘Hugging your family is neither a strategy nor a solution.’ The concern is that 4 million member National Rifle Association will present strong opposition because they are a power lobby.  But if we believe in the power of numbers, it should comfort you to know there are 35 million parents in America.  Congress should be more afraid of parents then a gun lobby.  Make sure voice and vote are heard.
  • When writing Congress, insist on better care for mental health.  You will note that it isn’t even a subject choice on the drop down menu, so you will have to write that in the body of your message.

Finally, do your best to raise good people so that we always have a growing supply of helpers.

If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much. – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

 

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

 

Hugging your family is neither a strategy nor a solution

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

We are too busy mopping the floor to turn off the faucet. – Unknown

This past week I placed two consecutive online orders for graphics software.  The first order went through with no problem, but the second purchase required that I contact the credit card company to confirm that I was indeed the cardholder.  Both combined purchases were under $100.  Credit card companies use sophisticated algorithms and business intelligence to stop potentially fraudulent purchases.

But in the past 60 days, James Eagan Holmes bought more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition and four guns including an AR 15 assault rifle at gun shops and over the Internet. 

How is it that something as simple as a minor credit card purchase can raise immediate questions, while the purchase of that much ammunition and an assault rifle didn’t raise any red flags? 

Also this week, marked the passing of Dr. Steven R. Covey, author of the The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®.  Habit #4 is win-win which sees life as a cooperative arena, not a competitive one. Win-win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win-win means agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial and satisfying.

That comes into play when you think about our challenges with gun control; they don’t have to be win-lose. In win-lose Covey suggests, life becomes a sum-zero game.  I paraphrase the NRA when they say they don’t want to stop individual rights because, after all, you can’t stop crazy.

They are concerned about the slippery slope of individual rights protected under the 2nd amendment.  But in 1789 the founding fathers could not have  imagined why individuals would need semi-automatic weapons.  Can you?

Law abiding citizens open their bags at arenas and sporting events, turn on laptops at airports as they walk around in bare feet doing what they are told to ensure our safety.  And we are willing to do more to prevent such tragedies. 

One thing we can do is demonstrate to our children that we won’t accept the status quo and ‘it is what it is’ is never a good response.

What we can do right now is reach out to our elected officials and tell them that this can’t happen again.  Public service announcements tell us that if you see something, say something. 

To our public officials: can you hear us now?

Have a good week, especially because you can hug your children

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

Cookies, not kids should be pictured on milk cartons

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

On May 25th 1979, 6-year-old Etan Patz disappeared while walking alone to his school bus stop for the very first time, just two blocks from his Manhattan Soho neighborhood.

Etan was the first missing child to be pictured on the side of a milk carton.

The cold case which has stretched decades became hot again.  This past week police investigators began digging up the basement down the street from the boy’s home.

Also last week, Dateline NBC aired a hidden camera series which tests parents’ teaching their children about strangers.   In the first episode of “My kid would never do that,” Natalie Morales put her own 8-year-old son in a situation where he has to decide if it is safe to enter an ice cream truck. After he initially hesitates, Morales tears up when her son follows his friends.  It’s clear that she and the other moms had the stranger talk with their children.

We have come so far to protect our children 33 years after the disappearance of Etan Patz, but as we can see in the Dateline report, the best defense is to empower our kids to handle situations by role-playing and what-if scenarios. 

  • Does your family have a codeword? 
  • Do you children have clear rules about who can come in your home?  Make sure your rules are very simple.  In our house, the only people who could enter were those with keys.
  • If they are lost in a public place, have them ask a woman for help.
  • Explain that an adult should never ask a child for help.
  • If they are being followed by a car, run in the opposite direction of the car.

We hope that our children hear our messages, but it is clear we need to reinforce the message and role play as often as possible. 

 Best said by Ronald Regan in response to national security issues, “Trust, but verify.”

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®

We are still here

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

 A few weeks ago, the world didn’t end on May 21st as Harold Camping predicted.   His forecast caused some folks to stop paying the mortgage and bills.  I imagine they are now trying to recover from that decision.

Most things we spend time worrying about just don’t happen.  Parents create anxiety about things that can happen to their kids, and that anxiety keeps them from just being kids. 

I’m not saying there aren’t dangers in the world and it is your job to protect your child from real danger.  But let’s distinguish danger from anxiety.  Practice safety in all aspects of life, from the use of car seats, to child-proofing your home, to cyber protecting your kids to prohibiting alcohol to minors.  These measures all make sense and do protect our children from real danger.

And then lighten up.

Allow your kids to play the way you used to play – outside and unstructured.  Look for ways to celebrate life’s small milestones which help to shape what is in your control in this seemingly out of control world.  What would you like your children to remember about their childhood?

One of life’s milestones is the last day of school.  Each year I would leave work early to pick up the kids, and they knew I would be armed with water blasters.  Of course, one was for me. 

Why should they have all the fun?

 “We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable.  It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends, and living our lives.”  – Maya Angelou

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Today our reality is on TV and our friendships are virtual

Monday, October 25th, 2010


Curious…if necessity is the mother of invention, did social networking come about because we inhibited our children’s ability to make friends?

Think about it…

We were told we were bad mothers if our children played outside; after all they could be abducted.  So they played inside and were entertained by TV and videos which brought the rise of electronic toys.

We were scorned if our children walked to school for the same reason. We arranged playdates so our children could play with the children of parents that were like us.

When children came over to play, they only knew how to play electronically, so that’s what they did.  There was little experience grabbing a ball and playing outside, or getting friends together for a pick-up game.

My daughter, now a college senior, and I discussed the idea of making friends in today’s society.  “Mom, I don’t think we had the same opportunities to make friends as you and dad did.”

Over the years we told stories of how we grew up, and she smiled as if our stories were fantasy.  Growing up in an urban area, there were at least 50 kids on the block.  We went out to play early in the morning and came in for dinner.  Games were invented on the fly, leaders rose to the occasion, and friendships were formed.

Parents didn’t step in when friends squabbled; kids figured out how to work things out.  You learned by your mistakes that you shouldn’t share a secret because then it was no longer a secret.  Since we weren’t overwhelmed with activities, we actually had time for friends.

Facebook vs. Facetime

I am not suggesting that we should reset the clock because technology brings many good things.  There are ways to stay connected to friends that move away and share moments in our lives that are meaningful.

There are also ways to connect with people that have similar interests and causes which make it easier as Ghandi suggests, to be the change you want to see in the world.

Connections are not friends.  You first have to make friends.

This is an exerpt of a collaborative work by Parental Wisdom® advisors that will be given away as an e-book to members. Become a member to receive your copy of:

Tomorrow’s Adult: Who You Always Dreamed Your Child Would Be.

p.s. You may also want to tell your friends to sign up.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Do we really need another bake sale?

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

“May you live in interesting times.” Chinese Blessing

With shrinking education budgets and cuts in sports, arts and afterschool programs; we need to get creative with fundraising.  Well, here’s a unique product that is relevant for parents and kids!

Consider a fundraiser that provides security, safety and peace of mind in a……

TRAVEL STIX®

MEDICAL AND TRAVEL INFORMATION FLASH DRIVE

The unique digital device to ensure safe travel and proper medical treatment for teen athletes’

Sport Teams, Schools and Sport Associations

________________________________________________________________________

2010 SCHOOL & TEEN SPORT CATALOG

for a complete tour, visit us at http://www.mytravelstix.com

Be sure to use Coupon Code PW2010 for FREE SHIPPING!

NEW FROM TRAVEL STIX®

CUSTOMIZED CREDIT CARD FLASH DRIVE WITH 2GB OR 4GB WITH YOUR LOGO ON BOTH THE FACE AND THE EMBEDDED TRAVEL FORMS

MULTIPLE LANGUAGES: ENGLISH – SPANISH – FRENCH

TEEN SPORT TRAVEL STIX®

Unique storage device for your important travel & medical information.  This state-of-the-art credit card shaped flash drive may be used in every computer, net book or iPad’s USB port.  With two versions providing either 2GB or 4GB of memory, this is the digital device to keep what you need accessible and not reliant on the Internet when you are on the go!

Price of 1 to 5,000 is $14.50 for 2GB; $22.50 for 4GB which your organization can sell for the suggested retail price of $19.95 for 2GB & $29.95 for 4GB.

You can also include your school or team’s logo right on the Travel Stix® as well as encourage local businesses to donate funds to support your event and pay for the customized Travel Stix®.  Your logo is free when using coupon code PW2010, provided your order is a minimum of 100 Travel Stix®.  You can allow contributing local businesses to include coupons and web site links that we can pre-embed on your customized version.  This is another way that the Teen Sport Travel Stix® enable you to maximize your fundraising efforts.

TRAVEL STIX® was created by an attorney who is also a mother of two active teens.

Visit  http://www.mytravelstix.com and be sure to use the coupon code PW2010 for free shipping.

If you have any questions, you can also contact me.

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

How to help someone who doesn’t think they need any

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

What if someone stuck on a train track ignored you as you tried to pull them up to safety?

People feel that way when they try to give advice to the parent of a child heading down the wrong track. They see their words ignored, and know that no action will be taken.

In the blog post ‘Are you building or ruining the relationship?’ I suggested that other parents really don’t want to hear your advice unless they ask for it.  That is true since the advice is usually related to personal opinion about how to raise children.

In those cases, it is a parenting style you don’t like.  You may feel the parents are not raising a (fill in the blank), happy, responsible, independent, caring, etc. child.  But again, that is your opinion.

Then there are the cases where there is real cause for concern.  Nothing has happened – yet, but when you try and talk to the parent into get help for the child, they do nothing as this Parental Wisdom® member describes…

I am the single mom of an eight-year-old girl. She recently had a friend over; that girl is nine. My dad was watching the girls while I was at work.

When I came home, my daughter was in the pool and the other girl was inside on the computer. I reminded my daughter that I didn’t want to happen when friends are over. I went in to see the girl and she jumped up and away from the computer. I suggested both girls take showers before dinner and checked the history on the computer. The girl was looking at porn videos! I asked my daughter if she did this too and she said yes and started crying. Then I asked the other girl why she did this and how she knew where to look. She said she saw this on TV at her dad’s house (her parents are divorced).

I called the mom who in turn called the father who replied that he didn’t have time to talk about this. This little girl was also caught stealing from purses at a dance recital. I have repeatedly suggested to the mom that this little girl gets professional help, but I don’t think she will do anything about it. The reason I have her around my daughter is that I hope she will see good influences, but now I am concerned about having my daughter around this bad influence.

My question to Parental Wisdom is I have great concern about this little girl. At what point does someone report to child welfare? I can only think that if she has such troubled behavior at age nine, what will happen when she is a pre-teen?

See our expert advisor’s responses

The highest wisdom is kindness.  – Yiddish proverb

Have a good week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Paying our dues to be part of the village

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

jaycee

A story in the news this week horrified parents. It brings a few thoughts come to mind:
• How this happened
• What caused it to be uncovered
• And, as members of the ‘village’ what we can do to prevent it

Background
An 11-year-old girl is abducted on her way to school 18 years ago, as her step-father looked on unable to deter the kidnappers. During that period, she gives birth to two daughters fathered by her captor. She is released due to the follow through of alert security guards at the University of California at Berkeley when her captor displayed suspicious behavior while visiting the campus to distribute religious material.

Today
With new school supplies, clothes, sneakers and backpacks, families across the country are excited about the start of a new school year. At the same time, we have to question the safety of our children; specifically as it relates to walking to school. Communities trying to combat childhood obesity encourage families to allow their children to walk to school, but this story could cause major setbacks in this endeavor.

If a safe, community focused approach is taken, we can keep our kids safe, and allow them the freedom and enjoyment of walking to school. Visit International Walk to School in the USA to learn how.

Keeping all of our children safe
There is a belief that a society is judged by something called the “burning building theory.” Here’s how it works. If your child was in a burning building, no doubt you would rush in to save him. But, a society is judged by the willingness of its community members to rush in to save someone else’s child. That is where the concept of the village comes in.

If the village has any chance of working, we need to recognize we’re all in this together. A candle provides a good example of how this works. When used to light another candle, the first candle doesn’t lose its light; in fact, it intensifies. So if each one of us can take care of our own family, and do just a little bit more, we can move the village concept from a wonderful idea to reality.

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

If the security guards were not observant, or did not follow through on their suspicions, Jaycee Dugard would still be a captive.

Although most situations aren’t quite this serious, there are times where we question whether or not we should say something. Here is a recent question posed by a Parental Wisdom® member that illustrates that point.

I was looking out my window this morning, and noticed a father walking quite a distance ahead of his little girl who appeared to be about 2 years old. It was easy for a car to turn into a driveway and since the little girl was so small the car wouldn’t see her and she could have been hit, or the little girl could have run into the street. My concern is, should I have said something to him? We are all cautious of correcting other parents’ behavior, but what if something could have happened to that little girl and I didn’t point it out to the father? In light of a recent tragic crash involving a mom who apparently was driving intoxicated, I am taking the concept of accident avoidance more seriously. Your advice?

To see answers from our expert advisors, click here

What do you think? Comment below.

Remove the locks – they are not working: robbers still rob

Monday, February 9th, 2009

locks

Researchers found that crimes committed by sex offenders have not been reduced as a result of Megan’s Law questioning the $5.1 million cost since 2007.

That’s like saying locks don’t deter burglars, so we shouldn’t spend the money on installing locks on doors.

The intention of the law is to alert parents to sex offenders living in their communities, not to stop the behavior of sex offenders.

The wrong questions are being asked. Where is the $5.1 million being spent, and if the issue is awareness, can it be done differently or more cost effectively? Fortunately, State Sen. Bill Baroni said the study “completely misses the point.”

Deborah Jacobs, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, called such laws, “political Band-Aids that don’t stay on.” She suggests instead that we help the victims.

No, Ms. Jacobs – let parents protect their children from offenders so they don’t become victims.

As to the proper use of $5.1 million – use the power of what all moms know, Word of Mouse to create awareness, and reduce your budget.