Archive for the ‘community’ Category

Please look at me; listen to me

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

While technology puts the world at our fingertips, we need to connect with people. This is accomplished by simply paying attention.

The difference between hearing and listening is paying attention.

  • A pregnant woman steps on the E Train and is left standing. She isn’t offered a seat, but it’s not due to a lapse in manners.  No one was paying attention.
  • 156 women and girls that had participated in USA Gymnastics said in court that Larry Nassar sexually abused them over the past two decades as they were in his care. Despite their repeated concerns and complaints, the institutions that employed Nassar, including the US Olympic Committee, and Michigan State University turned a blind eye to the abuse.  Let the finger pointing begin.

Just pay attention.

 

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are we trying to accomplish?

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

einstein

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®

The pendulums sweet spot

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

There is something to be said of settling in the middle.  I don’t buy in to the nostalgia of how great it was in the 1960’s where every mom was home and kids were out all day playing, only coming in for dinner.

But I was a kid that experienced that kind of childhood, which was the greatest childhood in history.  Not opinion but fact.

Why?

People had more kids (baby boomers are those born in 1946 to 1964) so there were more kids around.  More kids around means more opportunity to play.

Then in 1964, 40% of the population was under the age of nineteen which created the opportunity/explosion of marketing to and for children.  Before all the toys, books, entertainment and activities, kids entertained themselves.

The biggest challenge we face today is a child’s lack of ability to play

I’m talking about the kind of play that is non-supervised, no fees or uniforms involved, where the kids themselves figure out what they’re going to play today.  The kind of play where kids get so dirty, at the end of the day the bath water is black, and they go right to sleep because they are exhausted from having fun.

That doesn’t happen anymore.  Why?

We are afraid

Instead of locking up the bad guys, we lock up our children and keep them inside and in front of electronics.  This holds back their ability to move and play, and argue and make up, and be friends again.  It is important to be cautious, and be careful, but don’t be afraid.

We are competitive

We put them in every kind of summer camp that will help improve their math scores, reading scores and batting average.  So not only are there fewer children these days, but the ones that are around are not available to play because they are scheduled.

We are overwhelmed

We have so much to do, that we put our kids in front of electronics as a means of babysitting and/or entertainment to give us time to get tasks done.  Include them in the tasks, because they are part of a family, and that should be cooperative.

We are Julie the Cruise Director

We fill their lives with activities and events, so there is no time for boredom. Boredom is good, as Mr. Rogers famously said, “You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind.”

 What can you do right now so the pendulum swings back more toward the middle?

Notice I’m not suggesting that we go to the 1960’s.  I believe the sweet spot is in the middle.  Life is different today and many moms need to, or choose to work, and having a choice is a good thing.  The electronics are not bad, and in fact teach our children interesting things that take them to incredible places.  It is the moderation that we need to better manage and focus on free play, because we are not doing much of that at all.

  • Can you get the ball rolling with some unstructured evening activities?
  • Is there a community basketball court?
  • Can you get your kids to organize a baseball game?
  • Can they have a marathon board game event?
  • Break the record for the most hula hoop players?
  • Are they able to do any of these things without adult intervention?
  • And parents, instead of sitting in those sports chairs that have a holder for a cold beverage, get moving yourself!  Bring a bocce game or bean bag toss and play with the big kids, aka the adults.
  • Take up a community cause to help other children.  There is no feeling as wonderful as helping someone else.

The best way to begin is to run the idea by your kids, and ask them what they think.  Get them to organize it, and then when you get enough momentum, be a voice in your community.  If it takes off, ask the school to open the gym on Friday nights for Family Game Nights in the fall.

Then, we can get back to the best part of the 60’s – the village that we all so desperately need and miss.

“You can’t stop the future
You can’t rewind the past
The only way to learn the secret
…is to press play.” 
― Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why

 

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

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Boston and Waco remind us to be good neighbors

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

 

 “If we wish to rebuild our cities, we must first rebuild our neighborhoods.”  Harvey Milk

One of my best memories of growing up in Brooklyn was playing with dozens of kids on my block and having lots of very caring neighbors.  Everybody knew your name and your family.  Being part of that community felt like being covered in a warm blanket.

There has been an explosion of social media and online friends which may cause us to miss opportunities to know the people that are quite literally in our own backyard.

If you agree with this, you may want to celebrate neighbors’ day, April 27th by hanging a sign on your door, or perhaps a little bit more.  Go the extra step to know your neighbors by name, situation and to see if they might need a helping hand.  You could make it as simple as sharing names and emergency contacts, to planning a progressive dinner or a block party (my favorite)!

What we can learn from the tragic explosions this week in Boston and Waco is that we don’t need to wait to let our neighbors know we are here for each other.

Have a great week!

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®

Today – modern villages are needed to raise a child

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

eight-babies

Not too long ago, I was presenting a parenting seminar at a local mom’s group. At the end of the discussion a very pretty and very pregnant mom raised her hand. “Does it get any easier?” In unison, all the moms in the room said, “Yes!”

It turned out this teary, exhausted mom was two weeks away from having her fourth child and busy caring for her five-year-old, three-year old, and 18-month old children, with no help.

I knew this community, and interestingly part of the town’s name was ‘the village’ so helping was second nature to them. Going out on a limb, I asked this mom if she had ever been on the ‘giving’ side. She nodded and explained how she had run a program at church that helped members in need.

Why is it easy to help others, yet difficult to ask for help?

As the African proverb suggests, it does take a village to raise a child. Today’s villages use modern tools such as Google Calendar. Volunteers sign up to make meals, coordinate trips to doctors and guarantee sufficient coverage. For families dealing with family illnesses, or financial struggles the situations are tough, but not insurmountable. They are in temporary need of help and fortunately, people rally to their aid.

Other families that need help are high profile such as ‘Jon and Kate plus 8’ and next we’ll meet The Hayes Family on TLC’s ‘Table for Twelve’ but because collectively, we like these families, they get help from sponsor companies providing vans, homes, diapers, juice, clothes, etc.

Compare that to Octomom, where simple math meets complex issues.

The simple math is:
• 0 job for the sole breadwinner
• 1 single mother
• 6 siblings
• 8 newborns
• 14 children in total
• 15 minutes of fame

The complex issues are:
• Should someone lacking the financial means have 14 children?
• Who was a right to say how many children someone can have?
• Should a potentially dangerous medical situation be allowed?
• What about everyone else who would love to have more children, but feels financially restricted have to pay for someone else’s decision to have 14 children?
• When and how often should a child advocacy agency step in to check on the care the children are getting?
• Who are we to judge?

For now, I hope the surrounding community and sponsor companies help, despite the fact that Nadya Suleman is hardly an ideal spokesperson. It’s not about her; it’s about the babies, and their needed care. Much like a teenage pregnancy, the situation is not ideal.

The controversy and questions will go on, and babies will do what they always do, grow and thrive while the adults are busy talking. We have to realize even though we seriously question her state of mind, and her ability to handle this tremendously difficult situation, she is after all, their mother.

Be kind for everyone you meet if fighting a hard battle. – Plato

Question – How do you build a community?

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

community-21

If the question is how do you build a community, the answer is one person at a time.

When you think of the place where you live, do you get a warm and comfortable feeling? Do you feel connected to the people, and feel as if you’re a part of something? Did you have that growing up? If so, don’t your children deserve it as well?

What we’re learning is that with all our technology, it is a connection to people that really matters.

One of Parental Wisdom’s member wrote in recently about saving their school. The outpouring of support is overwhelming. It is so encouraging to see people so interested in defining their community.

The economic downturn has led a private school in Azusa, Light and Life Christian School to lower tuition cost for the upcoming school year to $3700.00 and the school is offering 45 financial aid packages (scholarships) to qualified families. For more information about Light and Life Christian School, call (626) 969–0182.

As always, your children are watching. Visit Parental Wisdom (free) Reports to read about Simple Acts of Kindness and Generosity.