New Year’s Resolution – To Stop Reading Email

“I am still learning.” – Michelangelo

Happy New Year!

Hopefully, as Michelangelo suggests, we are all still learning.

From a personal perspective this year, I learned an incredibly valuable lesson as I often do, from my children. That lesson was what we wish for our children may not be their wish. Though we want their good health and happiness; we need to realize that happiness has to be on their terms, not ours.

From a professional standpoint, the past year brought a myriad of new ways to socially networking with old and new friends. Or did it?

I think all the information overload and news, whether mundane or newsworthy gets lost in the sheer volume of it all.

1. If you send a holiday card to undisclosed recipients (and I’m on that list) I don’t feel all that special.

2. If I receive emails that require I pass it on to eight friends in the next ten minutes or terrible ills will come upon me, I am able to dismiss it and still make it to dinner.

3. And as important as your email message might be, whatever the subject, the bottom line is that nobody cares about your ‘stuff’ as much as you do.

This is largely due to the fact that there is too much going on. For the New Year and new decade, I’m choosing to take a step back or perhaps sideways.

Just as the holidays brought cards and pictures to my mailbox, which were more meaningful than email good wishes, the email newsletter you receive from me will come to your mailbox. Yes, I mean snail mail. We’re going to test this with a February newsletter on a topic you will really be interested in – raising socially conscious children.

In order to receive this newsletter, please be certain that you are registered as a Parental Wisdom® member with a full and complete mailing address.

• If you’re just signed up with an email account, we won’t have your address so we can’t mail it to you. Here is the link

• If you have found the information from Parental Wisdom helpful, then be sure to send a note to your friends. Please note, see point 2 above and don’t warn them about terrible things happening to them if they choose not to join. They’ll be fine.

This is one of a number of enhancements you’ll see this coming year. I look forward to our on-going conversations, and very soon you’ll see how we’ll be enhancing our ability to have real conversations as well.

If you are new to Parental Wisdom listen here

The very best to you and your family!

Tina Nocera, Founder
Parental Wisdom®

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The Chinese Bamboo Story – A Lesson in Patience

We have access to instant information, music and books. We buy fast food through the drive-thru. We beep at the car in front of us as soon as the light turns green. Resolutions to problems or relationships are expected instantly.

We want to see immediate results related to the turnaround of our economy, despite the fact that it took years to get to this state. We enter foreign countries and expect to immediately change their culture. If a CEO is put in place and doesn’t demonstrate an immediate turn-around, they take a walk through the revolving door and someone new is put in place. Unfortunately, we try to live our fast paced lifestyle in what is naturally a slow paced world.

A good lesson on this subject is the story of the Chinese Bamboo Tree.

It seems that this tree when planted, watered, and nurtured for an entire growing season doesn’t outwardly grow as much as an inch. Then, after the second growing season, a season in which the farmer takes extra care to water, fertilize and care for the bamboo tree, the tree still hasn’t sprouted. So it goes as the sun rises and sets for four solid years. The farmer has nothing tangible to show for all of his labor trying to grow the tree.

Then, along comes year five.

In the fifth year that Chinese bamboo tree seed finally sprouts and the bamboo tree grows up to eighty feet in just one growing season! Or so it seems….

Did the little tree lie dormant for four years only to grow exponentially in the fifth? Or, was the little tree growing underground, developing a root system strong enough to support its potential for outward growth in the fifth year and beyond? The answer is, of course, obvious. Had the tree not developed a strong unseen foundation it could not have sustained its life as it grew.

The same is true for our children.

Parents, who patiently work in teaching their children values and build strong character while overcoming adversity and challenge, grow a strong internal foundation. Had the Chinese bamboo farmer dug up his little seed every year to see if it was growing, he would have stunted the tree’s growth. We ask our little children to sit still and have patience. Much better lesson if we’re demonstrating that behavior.

Here is a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that is as true today as it was when he wrote it over 100 years ago:

“The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Toiled ever upward through the night.”

Have a wonderful Christmas!
Tina Nocera, Founder
Parental Wisdom®

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Do you have Santa’s Phone Number?


Happy Countdown to Christmas!

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Experience the joy of parenting

“When we are centered in joy, we attain our wisdom.” – Marianne Williamson

As we celebrate the birthdays of our first born, we are also celebrating our anniversary as parents. As you think back, what do you remember?

If I had to sum up my feelings to one word, that word would be joy.

I find myself nostalgically thinking of all the things we did and I can’t help but smile. Not that we were perfect parents, or our lives were perfect, but it was real, and we really enjoyed bringing up our children – every step of the way, even when they were teenagers. We didn’t rush through the stages, anxiously waiting to get to the next one, but really lived in that moment.

Joy is something that is easily spread around, which means that if parents are enjoying the ride, so are their children. I thought it would be interesting to put together a list of your favorite moments of parenting; this would make a wonderful book!

Care to contribute your favorite moments of parenting?

Let me begin…

1. Each year on their little boy’s birthday, a picture is taken in his dad’s button down shirt. Same shirt, every year. They will continue to do that to see how he grows into it.
2. Celebrate every holiday, and include decorations, food and discussion about why that holiday is being celebrated. Presidents Day then isn’t about a sale, but your children will remember the log cabin you built from pretzel logs, as you discuss why Lincoln is still remembered.
3. Cutting down the Christmas tree each year has all the makings of the next National Lampoon Griswold’s movie, but you wouldn’t trade it for the world.
4. You attended every Thanksgiving Day football game at the local high school regardless of the weather, and went back home and prepared a Thanksgiving feast together as a family.

P.S. If you aren’t yet a parent, but remember things your parents did that you really enjoyed; that counts too!

Love to hear from you!

Tina Nocera, Founder
Parental Wisdom®

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Nutley Parents paying for detention – what do you think?

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. – Dr. Seuss

Having raised my children in Nutley, NJ I read the newstory surrounding the consideration of charging parents for the costs associated with detention with great interest.

First of all, kudos to the Board members that had the courage to raise the question. Most people sit in the comfortable position of challenging the question and answer like a Monday morning quarterback, but lack the creativity to think differently in the first place.

So before I weigh in on the topic, (yes, I am playing the role of the Monday morning quarterback) I am grateful to the original thinkers, School Board members Steve Rogers and Walter Sautter for recognizing an opportunity to make things better.

My opinion is that we would be better served to have the students do something to improve the school rather than being babysat in a classroom.

* In the cases where they can be directly tied to an offense such as grafitti, they should be held accountable to clean it up.

* Where they were sent to dentention for being rude, late or other disciplinary actions, I am sure there is a laundry list of school clean up, repair activities or administrative work that always needs to be done. In that way, the students are the ones paying the price, not their parents.

After all, the purpose of an education is about learning, and it seems as if the students in detention are the ones that need the lesson. Your thoughts?

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Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle – Plato

time mag

When asked what he would do if he had one hour to save the world, Albert Einstein responded by saying that he would spend the first 55 minutes understanding the problem and the last 5 minutes solving it.

Hope you got a chance to read the great article in Time magazine on how schools are helping families understand and participate in their children’s education.

Let’s continue to peel this onion back and understand the real problem as to why parents might not be present at school.

Culturally, parents might feel their job is at home taking care of their husband and children. Being out at night attending a meeting takes them away from their families.
Single parents carry a heavy burden and often feel overwhelmed. Time is limited, and there is no partner to share the questions and problems with.
The perception is involvement in parenting groups is geared around fundraising and asking for money, rather than offering information about the school and various programs.
Language is often a barrier.
Some parents feel embarrased by their lack of education, and not even knowing what questions to ask.

I applaud these programs and we should all continue to understand the challenges and help our little villages whenever we can.

I did a presentation at the New York City Elementary Schools Principals Association meeting on how to bridge the gap between math and home. To read the notes, visit Parental Wisdom – Free Reports and read Bridging the Gap between Math and Home.

Tina Nocera, Founder
Parental Wisdom

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In Technology Wii Trust

wii

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts be counted.

-Albert Einstein

It’s that time of year again; your mailbox is chock full of glossy catalogs while the Sunday newspaper is brimming with adverting circulars. We’re thinking ahead to holiday gifts for our children and technology gifts do have such great appeal.

Before you go out and buy the newest gadgets, you might want to think about the recent findings released by Nielsen. Kids ages 2 to 5 watch on average 32 hours of television a week, while 6 to 11 year olds watch more than 28 hours. The analysis based on the fourth quarter of 2008, measured children’s consumption of live and recorded TV, and game console use.

I’ve heard parents praise the educational value of children’s programming and fun of game consoles, but are they being truthful about their feelings? Would parents rather have children play pretend Wii sports or the real ones? Which choice would provide fresh air, real movement and learning to play with others so they are better prepared for the real world? Would parents prefer to outsource their child learning colors, letters and numbers to Sesame Street or use that time better to build relationships with children?

Perhaps we fall back to the TV and technology because we believe it is safe; after all it’s indoors and under our watch. But our fears and time constraints that cause us to make the easier choice may be the wrong answer in the long term. Less is more unless, we’re talking about time.

Don’t be pressured to buy things for your child that you don’t agree with or can’t really afford. See the question and answer posed by a parent to Parental Wisdom’s advisors.

We live in a very affluent community yet we are not that wealthy at all. My daughter often seems frustrated that her friends are able to do some things and buy some things that we cannot afford. Although I understand her frustration, how can I make her understand our situation and keep her grounded? She is 8 years old.
See question and answers

You can also visit the website for Parental Wisdom advisor, Dr. Stevanne Auerbach, aka Dr. Toy to find out about the best toys for 2009.

A new book by Parental Wisdom advisor, Mary Strom Larson, is also helpful.

Have a great week!
Tina Nocera, Founder
Parental Wisdom

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