Archive for the ‘Communication’ 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®


What are we trying to accomplish?

Sunday, January 31st, 2016


It happened again. 

The other evening we are at a restaurant.  A family of four enters; the two little boys don’t even glance up from their cell phones as they are being seated. Shortly after orders are placed, the parents join the independent activity on their cell phones.

Yes, times are different but what hasn’t changed is the invaluable connection to the most important people in our lives.  As Einstein fears, are we at the stage where technology is surpassing human interaction?

  • How will our children learn they are part of a family that matters more than anything else?
  • How will they come to know the wonder and craziness of extended family if they don’t listen to the rich family stories?
  • How do parents teach values if children are listening to what is deemed newsworthy by popular culture?

When It Comes to Infant Language Development, Not All Toys Are Created Equal.

Parents – you are the perfect toy!

Of all the changes we would love to make in society but can’t – this one is completely in your control.

Please forgive me if I’m not impressed that your one-year-old knows how to swipe an iPad.  It would be so much better if they know how to turn the page of a book.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Ever wonder why we want to spread democracy?

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.  -Maya Angelou

In August 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was able to conduct a demonstration of his telephone by using two telegraph offices that were five miles apart. Using only the existing telegraph lines, Bell was able to conduct the world’s first phone call in front of an audience of amazed onlookers. Later that year, Bell and his financial backers offered to sell the patent for the telephone to Western Union, but Western Union dismissed the telephone as a useless toy that would never amount to anything.[1]

Ideas and inventions are often developed before their use is fully realized or understood.

Social Media is yet another example. 

This modern day soapbox allows us to have meaningful conversations.  With social media we can really listen, gain empathy and understanding, which could eventually lead to us meet in the middle.

But instead, we use social forums to air public and private disagreements, instantaneously taking a stand and a side.  We use social media to speak, not listen so we don’t fully realize the benefit of Mr. Bell’s invention, a device that allows for long distance conversations.

A recent example of such a disagreement is the movie American Sniper. The irony is the very freedom our military provides gives us the right to disagree.  If we stopped to think about why we want to spread democracy; it’s because a truly democratic society would never vote to send their children to war.

When the phone was first invented, there were literal connections of wire to conversations.  Today we are virtually connected to almost everyone on earth.  Why not take the good intention of social media and really listen to each to create much needed social change?

Ask your children how they might use social media to help society.

Have a great week!


Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

He was carefully taught

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

If I had one hour to save the world, I would spend the first 55 minutes understanding the problem, and the last five minutes solving it.  

Albert Einstein

BC (before children)

The most important job in the world is also the one we are least prepared for.  It’s thrilling the first time we hear we are about to become parents, and prepare by learning as much as we can before the baby’s arrival.

AC (after children)

Because Kids Don’t Come with Manuals® we quickly understand training is on the job; very much like a reading the recipe as the pot boils over on the stove.

There is little preparation for the on the spot decisions you have to make.  The most comfortable path is to do what you know, what your parents did, because after all you turned out ok.

The national news surrounding the Adrian Peterson event moved him from anointed celebrity to condemned criminal.  Companies such as Nike and Castrol pulled major endorsement deals. The NFL was paralyzed in forming a response.

How parents should parent was a topic on news programs, along with culture, geography, and religion. It’s easy to (pardon the pun) be a Monday morning quarterback and judge the way others parent.

At the same time, there was an interesting article this week in the WSJ about a non-profit program called Parent-Child-Home which got a boost from the Robin Hood Foundation.  Funds sent literacy specialists to visit families of young children in low income areas encouraging them to read to their children and not talk ‘babyese’.

Both situations, although dramatically different, are similar in the sense that parents simply do what they learned from their own parents.

It is important to begin a national conversation on parenting.

  1. Take the time to really understand the problem rather than talking in sound bites
  2. Share research on long term impact, whether it is reading to children or corporal punishment.
    Basically educate, don’t legislate.
  3. Help parents understand they don’t have to do what has always been done, but can make choices how to parent based on their own values.

Perhaps Nike and Castrol can move the money kept back for endorsements, and in its place fund this important dialog.

In parenting, there is more than one right answer.  The advisors at Parental Wisdom® would be happy to start the conversation.

We believe in this so strongly, we patented it.



Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Is it possible to quantify trust?

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

This week marked the fifth anniversary of the Miracle on the Hudson, where Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III safely glided U.S. Airways Flight 1549 after a flock of geese disabled the engines.

The more interesting fact may be that not one of the 150 passengers sued the airline, which is pretty surprising considering our very litigious society.  Even though no one was at fault, that rarely stops a firm looking for a good class action law suit.

Perhaps no one sued because of the enormous trust the passengers had in the pilot who demonstrated incredible character under such pressure, dismissing the praise by saying he was just doing his job?

Trust is earned but rarely quantified.

This would be a great discussion over dinner with the kids when you talk about how one person can make a difference.  Certainly ‘Sully’ who could be considered the Tom Hanks of air travel made a difference on January 15th 2009 to the lives of 150 people.

What difference can each of us make?

“The last words Albus Dumbledore spoke to the pair of us?’
Harry is the best hope we have. Trust him.”

-J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®


To listen is to lead

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. -Epictetus


I’m a fan of round tables.

Hierarchy isn’t quite as evident at round tables as it is when people are sitting at rectangular tables.  Parents and leaders sit at the head of the table during meals and meetings respectively.  You may have noticed a correlation to someone’s position at the table and domination of the conversation.

The ‘bigger’ guy has the most to say which means he or she has the least to learn.  But notice the letters in the word listen and silent.  They are exactly the same, but in a different order:

L I S T E N = S I L E N T

For parents, the world is constantly changing, so it is in your best interest to talk less and listen more.  Your children can teach you some amazing things.

Leaders may find it thought-provoking to hear staff members’ point of view on how things could improve.

While leaders claim employees are their greatest asset, and parents gush about their wonderful kids, both are happy to prove it if you let them.

I’m just saying….


Have a great week!


Tina Nocera,Founder

Parental Wisdom®


Have you talked to your teens about the Steubenville Rape?

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Steubenville Defense attorney Walter Madison plans to appeal the verdict in this case because he feels his client should not have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, based on scientific evidence that would support the brain isn’t fully developed at age 16.

No kidding…Socrates and Plato could have told you that

The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they alone knew everything and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them.’ So Socrates said, according to his student Plato.

Plato added, ‘What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?

Neuroscientist Sarah Jayne Blakemore illustrates this finding in this TED talk.  She explains that research done in the past 15 years, possible as a result of advances in brain imaging technology, proves the adolescent brain development, specifically the prefrontal cortex, controls decision making, planning, inhibiting inappropriate behavior, and social interaction which helps to understand other people.  It isn’t developed until adolescents reach their twenties or even thirties.

Furthermore, synapses pruning takes place during adolescence where environment can have a profound impact on tissues that stay and connect and others that are pruned away.   The good news is that the brain is most adaptable during this period. The great philosophers tell us that it’s always been this way, so what is different today?   

Your child is on a world stage where mistakes and bad choices can be replayed, forever.

This is where we [parents] come in, and the bottom line is that due to social media and smart phones, raising teens has become exponentially more difficult.   Even with younger children with access to such ubiquitous technology, it’s as if you left your front door open, and strangers are pouring in talking to your children without your knowledge or supervision. 

Treat this situation as if your child had an illness; you would not be passive.   The information from Sarah Jayne Blakemore tells us you do have control over the outcome because you are the most important part of your adolescent’s environment.  Engage your children in a constant discussion on your rules and values; best done when given full attention and no one is checking messages.

What can you do right now?

  1. Have frequent discussions with your children about choices, consequences and values
  2. Know the passwords to all your children’s accounts, and read posts and text messages to make sure they are not a bully or being bullied
  3. Be familiar with their ‘friends’ and make sure they are 16 as they say, and not 54

In a prior blog post, Sometimes you need to have an awkward conversation, I suggested that especially with teenagers, we trust but verify. 

Just to be clear; parenting was never meant to be a democracy. 

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®


Sometimes you need to have an awkward conversation

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

It’s easier when things remain unsaid, whether it is where to celebrate the next family holiday, or (not) dealing with a difficult neighbor.  Ignoring a situation doesn’t make it go away and certainly doesn’t solve it. 

The easy choice is not having the awkward conversation; unless it matters.  An example is when your teenager is invited to a party. 

Trust, but verify is a good rule when dealing with teens.  Instruct your teen that they are to call you from the house phone when they get to a party.  This way you can verify they are there.   But you need to do one better; ask to speak to the parents. 

Here comes the awkward part which goes something like this:

Hi this is Johnny’s mom.  I just wanted to make sure that

A)        He was invited

B)        A parent was home

C)         There would be no alcohol

Don’t be surprised if there is awkward silence or harsh reply.  But that awkward conversation is much easier to take then the knock on your door at 2am letting you know your child is hurt or worse.

In this case, I would always opt for the awkward conversation.   For those readers with younger children, spoiler alert – parenting teens is really hard, like nailing jello to a tree!

Best wishes,

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

How technology may save families

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

They solemnly sat in the first row of St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church.  I didn’t know who they were, but understood the person memorialized was very important to them.  At the end of the service two young women and six young men were the pallbearers for their Yiayia.

I met them at the luncheon following the burial. They were the exact opposite of the adult children mentioned in a recent blog.  They were bright lights, confident and connected to each other.  But sadly because they lived so far away, my family doesn’t know them at all.

Today, twenty and thirty year-olds grow up understanding that moving away is a fact of life, while I grew up in a world where most of my family lived within walking distance.   The boomers who are now grandparents are on Skype, Facebook and Facetime on a regular basis to create a connection with their grandchildren that has to suffice between visits and hugs.

Perhaps the next version of Facebook will include a way to smell Sunday dinner.  Until then it’s a great way to watch a video of an older sibling making a new baby brother laugh, first steps, hockey games, or the school play.

I think the thing I enjoyed best about watching them yesterday was that the cell phones only came out at the very last minute for pictures. They spent the whole time connecting the old fashioned way…they talked to each other.

Nice meeting all of you! May our next meeting be at a family reunion.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Temple Grandin, PH. D.

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Kudos to HBO for presenting  Temple Grandin.

Not only was the movie was uplifting and interesting, but I felt something that doesn’t often happen with most shows; I was left wanting more.

Fortunately I found the real Temple Grandin as she presented a lecture at TED.  Ted is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.  TED started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.

Click here to see her presentation video. Temple Grandin at TED 2010 We need all kinds of minds