Archive for June, 2016

Your honor, I used to believe in the judicial system

Sunday, June 12th, 2016

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”  – Marie Curie

I’m presently going through the jury selection process, called “voir dire,” which is Latin for “to speak the truth.” In voir dire, the judge and attorneys for both sides ask potential jurors questions to determine if they are competent and suitable to serve in the case.

I only know that because My Cousin Vinny is one of my favorite movies.

During the selection, you are asked if you believe in the judicial system.  I’m encouraged by the attention paid to this process especially when compared to North Korea sentencing of American student Otto Frederick Warmbier to 15 years of hard labor after accusing him of removing a political banner from a hotel.

I understand justice is not always served, even for promising athletes like Brian Banks.  As you read his story, if not for this unjust situation, he may have been playing for the NFL.

But the reason the Stanford case has me concerned is I don’t understand the sentencing.  I get that it’s not my job as a juror; a juror’s job is to listen to evidence, the law, and render a verdict with the burden of proof on the prosecution.

For the sentencing, Your Honor, I assume there are rules, guidelines, guardrails, call them what you like, but there has to be a way to show your work.

Like millions, I read the letters; from the victim, from the father of the guilty party, from Vice President Joe Biden. I’m heartbroken for the victim and her family and know that the sentence doesn’t change what happened.

There’s no way I would know the appropriate sentence, but I can’t fathom how six months is right.  That is my question.  Could you please show your work so we could all understand.

Without understanding, we just take sides.

With understanding, we can build bridges rather than walls.

And then maybe we won’t react to sound bites, and fill our need to place blame.

Feasibly we can pay more attention to changing things that will make a lasting difference, rather than participating in momentary outrage.

Conceivably there might be one less American tragedy as happened today with the Orlando shooting.

But we allow ourselves to be easily distracted as we always do.

It begins and ends with understanding. I’m listening, so please show your work.


Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Nice to meet you! Let’s not talk about politics

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

parenting 2

It happened a long time ago, but I remember it clearly as if it were yesterday.

I took my two little children to a birthday party for a neighbor’s child.  Michael was just over two, and Noelle about eight months old.  Since my husband was working, I was alone at the party.  Everyone was in the yard, and Michael went to play in one of those outdoor plastic playhouses.  I was right next to the playhouse, and could see his little head and red shirt through the playhouse window.  Every few minutes, while holding Noelle, I would turn to see his little head and the red shirt.  After about 15 minutes the child turns around I realize I was watching another little boy with a red shirt.  I panicked and the entire party began frantically searching all over the yard and in the house for Michael.

A mom ran out front and down the street.   A few minutes later she returned holding him.  Her face was white and she was shaking.  “He was standing at the top of the hill in the middle of the street.  A car coming up the hill would not have seen him, and he would have been hit.”  She is barely able to speak.  I grab and hug him, and take both kids home.

I wouldn’t call myself a bad mother, ever. 

It seems that our polite society gets the fact that we shouldn’t engage in political discussions, especially when we have opposing views.  But we don’t seem to hesitate for a moment when judging other parents.  The anonymity of social media encourages behavior that is quick to judgement, mean and unfair.

This is evident in the recent Cincinnati Zoo incident.  There is a petition with over 460,000 signatures to hold the parents responsible.  Does everyone jump to conclusions?  Do we trust the cell phone video coverage over eyewitness accounts?  Any parent knows accidents can happen in a single moment.

Another example of rush to judgement is the story of the mom who defended the video that shows her baby trying to stay afloat in pool. She taught her daughter to ‘self save’ after losing her two-year-old son in a drowning accident.  Could you imagine to have to defend your position of teaching your child a life skill after losing a child?

Everyday there are countless situations where parents are told by strangers to ‘watch their kids’ whether it is at the pool or the playground.

Parenting is a tough enough job without all the outside critics.  Honestly, let’s just agree to argue about the election – we certainly have enough to discuss.

Please support each other.

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®