Archive for the ‘Time’ Category

What are the things we really need?

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

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

When answering questions on the TV show Jeopardy, you must phrase your answers in the form of a question.

Assume the category was, “Things that matter,” the answer properly phrased would be “What are the things we really need.”

Our needs are simple. Our wants are much greater. I love to subscribe to this philosophy for buying gifts for children:

  1. Something to wear
  2. Something to read
  3. Something they want
  4. Something they need

Plus one more gift; something to give. As we celebrating our grandson’s first Christmas, we bought him:

  1. A Santa outfit which you will see in the video
  2. The classic Polar Express book
  3. A toy selected by his parents
  4. Money for his college fund

We made a donation to Doctors Without Borders in his name. As he gets older and understands more, we will let him select the charity of his choosing. I personally don’t know any needy children, but if we buy them too much, we will raise greedy children.

Now that my children are adults, I realize we could have bought them less. The children won’t remember all the gifts they opened on Christmas morning, but they will remember the things they need; the time you spend with them and traditions and memories you shared on this and every holiday.

Enjoy the fun we had and memories we are building.

Have a happy and healthy New Year!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

When is a minute not equal to a minute

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Some of the best ideas I get seem to happen when I’m doing mindless manual labor or exercise. I’m not sure how that happens, but it leaves me free for remarkable ideas to occur.  – Chuck Palahniuk

The January 25th WSJ featured an essay entitled, Why Mom’s Time Is Different from Dad’s Time.

The premise is that even though moms are working more and dads are contributing more, even if the time is equal the tasks are not.

So when does a minute not equal a minute? The answer is when the intensity of the task takes more focus, thought, single mindedness, etc.

When divvying up tasks, most moms will take the dishes because, “The dishes don’t talk back to you.” 

Reading through this, my thoughts trailed back to my childhood.  As the second eldest in a family of six kids, I remember my mother doing the dishes and singing Everybody’s talking at me.

In our multi-tasking, attention grabbing, never quiet present day society, we would willingly gravitate to the tasks that are, for lack of a better word, mindless.

I know I do…call me crazy, but I LOVE ironing!  My mind wanders, but yet at the same time there is attention to detail on the task at hand.

Most would agree that Moms are the CEO’s of the household and in that role, need time for quiet reflection.  So dads, volunteer for bath time after dinner, so moms can get lost in the dishes.

For fun, here are two links:

1.   From the past the classic Honeymooners show “A woman’s work is never done

2.   Present day link from Buzzfeed “Why dads can’t be Trusted to do Anything Right.”

Now, if you will excuse me…the ironing pile is calling.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Are you spending time on important things?

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Waste your money and you’re only out of money, but waste your time and you’ve lost a part of your life.  ~ Michael LeBoeuf

This past week Buzzfeed reported British actor Benedict Cumberbatch had a suggestion for the photographers camped outside the BBC Sherlock set Saturday in Cardiff, Wales. As he exited his trailer, Cumberbatch hid his face behind a hooded jacket and glasses and held up a sign reading, “Go photograph Egypt and show the world something important.”

We might have different points of view on what is important, but we have the freedom to spend our time in our way, for example:

  • Devote an entire afternoon to fishing with no catch to show for it
  • Take a two hour walk with your dog in the woods
  • Decide to pass the time on a rainy Saturday afternoon playing an online game
  • Cozy up on the couch watching old movies
  • Push your giggling toddler on a swing till dusk

To some, these might seem like trivial and unimportant activities, but who’s to judge when the decision of how to spend our time is ours.  The assumption is that we are getting something out of it, whether it is relaxing or fun or bonding or engaging.  What these activities have in common was the conscious choice to do these things simply because we wanted to.

In our celebrity crazed culture, we are vicariously living life through others, and at the end of the day have nothing to show for it. The reality shows, magazines at the checkout stands, and ‘celebrity news’ have become a feeding frenzy.  But as Benedict Cumberbatch suggests, it is simply not important.  There are other important things going on in the world.  Time is the great equalizer and we all get exactly the same amount of time each day – 1,440 minutes per day, and 10,080 minutes per week.  How will you choose to spend it?

We can stop the celebrity focused insanity by stopping the demand.  Pure economics will cause the reduced demand to become a limited supply.  And you can get back to more important things…like fishing.

What do you think?

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®


For your back to school assignment…

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.  ~ Wallace Stevens


I overheard a conversation/debate this weekend about the summer being over.

Now we could consider the optimist/pessimist point of view, but I prefer to say we have another half of the summer remaining.  But it will come to an end, and what will you have to show for it?

When your children go back to school the teacher will ask what they did over the summer.  How will they respond?

Since I started this blog in 2006 the message has been the same.

We model the behavior we want to see in our children.

So let’s change the assignment.  What if you had to write a paper in September about what you did over the summer?

  • Did you read (or better yet write!) the next great novel?
  • Did you start a new exercise routine?
  • Did you get out your easel and paint?
  • Did you take a class in something that has always interested you?
  • Did you start new family traditions like long walks, or shooting hoops after dinner?
  • Did you connect with friends?
  • Did you intentionally do nothing but recharge?

Airlines recommend parents put on their own oxygen mask before helping children put on theirs.  By my estimate, you still have half the summer left!

Begin by having a memorable week!


Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®


Through rain or sleet or snow…

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
Despite inclement weather, I can count on getting my mail.  This reminds me of the quote made famous by Woody Allen, “80% of success is showing up.”

But is it?
I get my mail, but I also get everyone else’s mail and assume they get mine as well.
No, it isn’t enough to show up – you have to get it right.
In parenting, it’s not just about being there; it’s about being present which is very different from just being there.
  • Are you engaged in discussion?
  • Are you interested?
  • Are you having fun…yet?
When your children grow up, what kind of home will they say you had?
  • Are you the yellers?
  • Are you the ignorers?
  • Are you not there at all?
  • Are you the fun family?
A country has a flag; and a company has a mission statement.  What will they say about your home?  You get to choose the kind of family you are.
How about we all make snow angels and have a cup of cocoa?

Have a great day!
Tina Nocera, Founder

You can only spend time

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

Recently a few dads mentioned they are not spending enough time with their kids, or in other cases, they felt the time slipped past them since their children are now older.

As I noted in my book Because Kids Don’t Come With Manuals® time and money have much in common, but one very clear distinction: you can make money and you can spend money, but you can only spend time – you can’t make time.

Despite what you might think, if given the choice, children would much rather spend time with you as compared to you working harder or longer hours to make money to buy them things. The best plaything in the world is you.

I point this out as Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon Professor who gave the famous Last Lecture recently passed away. The famous speech, which is now a book, was really meant for his children, but the rest of us eagerly listened in.

The world wanted to hear more from Randy, but he didn’t want to miss any time that he could spend with his children, so he collaborated via cell phone with Jeffrey Zaslow of the Wall St. Journal as he rode his bike an hour a day for 53 days.

Putting myself in his shoes, I can’t imagine not being there for my children in their moments of joy and more importantly in their moments of need. But it comes down to being there, which is about the choices we make. As Randy reminded us, “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”

If you don’t know how to play with your kids – find someone who does effortlessly and do the same things. If you think the time has passed where you didn’t teach your son to ride a bike or throw a ball, ok, but you can still talk to your grown son and learn about him.

The key to time is making the most of what you have.

Build Me a Memory

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

In an earlier blog I had written about controlling the amount of money spent on children’s gifts, and recognizing when children are getting too much. I was referring to gifts that guests bring to the birthday child.

You see the gifts that really count are the ones you give to your child in the form of experiences and memories – no occasion or budget required.

I just had a wonderful experience with my daughter that we’ve been meaning to share; we finally visited Serendipity, a New York landmark famous for their frrrrrozen hot cocoa.

Unlike gift cards, memories have no expiration dates.

Start the New Year appreciating what you have

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008


The New Year gives us a gift – a new way of looking at things.

The stores that just weeks ago were overflowing with merchandise, are now clear of anything red or green, and now offer ways to better organize and clean.

More than anything, the New Year gives us a new outlook; some people set goals and objectives, others believe it is a waste of time. What we all should do is take a moment to think about all that we have and what we can be grateful for.

• The people in our lives
• Good health
• Opportunity
• Another year to build memories

Happy New Year, and wishing you a healthy, happy and memorable 2008!

Do What Matters Most

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007


You may have heard the story of the old professor of the School of Public Management in France. He was invited to lecture on the topic of “Efficient Time Management” in front of a group of 15 executive managers representing the largest, most successful companies in America. The lecture was one in a series of five lectures conducted in one day, and the old professor was given one hour to lecture. Standing in front of this group of elite managers—who were willing to write down every word that would come out of the famous professor’s mouth—the professor slowly met eyes with each manager, one by one, and finally said, “We are going to conduct an experiment”.

From under the table that stood between the professor and the listeners, the professor pulled out a big glass jar and gently placed it in front of him. Next, he pulled out from under the table a bag of stones, each the size of a tennis ball, and placed the stones one by one in the jar. He did so until there was no room to add another stone in the jar. Lifting his gaze to the managers, the professor asked, “Is the jar full?” The managers replied, “Yes.” The professor paused for a moment, and replied, “Really?”

Then once again, he reached under the table and pulled out a bag full of pebbles. Carefully, the professor poured the pebbles in and slightly rattled the jar, allowing the pebbles to slip through the larger stones until they settled at the bottom. Again, the professor lifted his gaze to his audience and asked, “Is the jar full?” At this point, the managers began to understand his intentions. One replied, “Apparently not!” “Correct,” replied the old professor, pulling out a bag of sand from under the table. Cautiously, the professor poured the sand into the jar. The sand filled up the spaces between the stones and the pebbles. Yet again, the professor asked, “Is the jar full?” Without hesitation, the entire group of students replied in unison, “No!” “Correct,” replied the professor. As was expected by the students, the professor reached for the pitcher of water that was on the table and poured water in the jar until it was absolutely full. The professor now lifted his gaze once again and asked, “What great truth can we surmise from this experiment?” With his thoughts on the lecture topic, one manager quickly replied, “We learn that as full as our schedules may appear, if we only increase our effort, it is always possible to add more meetings and tasks.” “No,” replied the professor. “The great truth that we can conclude from this experiment is, if we don’t put all the larger stones in the jar first, we will never be able to fit all of them later.”

The Present

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

In the movie Click, Adam Sandler plays a workaholic who gets a universal remote and tries to fast forward through the less than perfect parts of his life. He eventually realizes that he missed most of it, but has the opportunity to go back and fix it.

Most of us don’t get that chance. The spring is a tough time of the year on parents, with school, sports and music events that keep us running from one thing to the next. What we don’t realize is that our perception of the situation is a choice we get to make. Like Adam Sandler, we can rush through it, or realize that it is a moment in time we can enjoy.

For any of us that ever wished for time to pass more quickly whether it was wishing for naptime, or wishing for a baby to start walking, or for a little league game to finally end, we learn they always do, and one day we will miss buying Treasure Rooms accessories.

Funny how when raising the children the hours go so slowly but the years fly by.

Don’t rush through life, because you will get exactly what you wish for. The question is – is that what you really want? I heard a story recently that had me really heartbroken. This past mother’s day, a number of the nursery and pre-schools host morning teas to honor the moms. One mom arrived along with all the other moms and told her little 5-year-old girl that she had to take a quick call and would be right back. She spent the hour in the car on a business conference call, while her daughter cried in the hall the whole time waiting for her to come back in.

Don’t miss it – you only get one chance. The thing to keep in mind is if you see these events as stressful, they will be. If you see these moments in time as gifts – they will be that too. There is a great saying:

The past is history
The future a mystery
Today is a gift – that’s why they call it the Present.