Archive for July, 2014

Do we really want balance or peace?

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

You could have balance, but what if balance meant challenges or conflicts both at work and home.

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

As a leader, you don’t have to solve employees’ problems at home, but you should at least ask so you can understand what people might be dealing with so they can have peace at work.  That question gave me these two (shareable) stories:

Story 1: A manager with two kids, a boy 12 and a girl 4, had been covering for me while I was out on vacation.  When I returned, we were reviewing a situation, and both realized he missed an update. He stopped and explained what had gone on the day before.

He had planned to take his wife out to lunch for her birthday but work ‘fires’ had to be put out, so instead he promised her a nice family dinner.  That is until they were about to leave for dinner, and his daughter asked him how rocks were supposed to taste.

“Rocks?!  You ate a rock?”

She held up five fingers.

“You ate five rocks?”

They spent what was supposed to be a nice family dinner in the emergency room.  It was understandable why he would have missed the update.  The little girl was OK.  Turned out she ate newly spread mulch.

Story 2: When meeting with a new person on my team, I expected questions about the job.  But I always begin by asking how things are at home.  She said she would like a little less conflict; she has three girls.  Not horrible conflict, just chronic.

Her girls do what most parents have experienced where our kids believe our role is to referee, calling the shots on every play.

“She picked the movie last time!”


“Well she never helps bring in the groceries!”

A technique that worked really well for me called ‘Child of the Day’ which is a very simple system of responsibility and rewards.  Each day you mark on the calendar who is child of the day. When it came time to decide what story to read, what movie to watch, or what snack to eat, the decision went to the child of the day. That was the reward part.

The responsibility part is about things that need to get done, but were not necessarily a particular person’s chore.  Those would go to the child of the day.  For example, if I need something out of the pantry, I would ask, “Who is child of the day?”
This approach took me out of the middle. Now, my children are both adults, and if you ask them who the favorite child is, they will both say, “Me!” This really works.

Child of the Day is one of the many expert responses to parents questions in Parents Ask, Experts Answer: Nurturing Happy, Healthy Children.  Yes, this is a shameless book plug!  But please do take a look at the book available for presell on Amazon.

 

Have a wonderful week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

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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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