Perspective from the Rear View Mirror

Credits: Walter Pardo, Managing Partner

At the risk of sounding like an elder statesman, I have learned some things over the years, and I thought I’d share them.  The most important, overriding thing is: you shouldn’t judge other people.  In this inaugural column, I will start at the beginning: the day when I learned this lesson the hard way.  I have been reaping the benefits ever since.  What should you take from this?  Nothing.  Everything.  Whatever you want.  I won’t judge.

I was five years old and in kindergarten.  My mother was progressive and wanted me in full day kindergarten, even though the public school only had half-day, so she sent me to private kindergarten.  Sound familiar?  I was in my second year of this arrangement.  Again, because my mom wanted me out of the house.  I had already been going to school since I was three or two or something.  She said it was because I was so smart, but I was onto her.  She played a lot of Mah Jong. 

Anyway, this kindergarten class was mixed, first and second year.  So, I, a veteran kindergartener, had to attend school with the lowly newbies.  As fate would have it, I befriended one of them.  Go figure.  She invited me to her home, which I happily accepted.  But then, when I got there, an unbelievable thing occurred.  We left our shoes at the door and went to her room, where she picked up her blankie and her pacifier.  To make the scenario even more unimaginable, she popped the pacifier into her mouth and began sucking away on it.  I was horrified.  I, a seasoned kindergartener, could not believe my eyes.  She was four years old and she was sucking on a pacifier. 

Sign Up for E-News

I was polite enough to finish out my playdate (although of course no one called them that then).  When I got home, I told my mom about the most ridiculous thing that I had seen.  I have no idea what she said to me, but I do know that I announced that I would not play with her again.  I am not proud of this, by the way, although I still blame my mom for not setting me straight. I was, after all, only five.

Fast forward a number of years.  My daughter had a pacifier.  Why?  Because it was the one thing that would make her stop crying when she was a baby.  But when she was three, she still had a pacifier.  Why?  Because when we tried to take it away, crazy things happened and a doctor told us to give it back to her.  So, you guessed it:  she still had it when she started kindergarten.  And I don’t mean the preschool kindergarten when you’re four (although obviously she had it then too).  I mean the public school, this is for real kindergarten--the friends you meet now you will know in high school--kindergarten.  Obviously, like my friend from years ago, she did not bring it with her to school.  When her first new friends came over after school, I suggested that she might not want to go and pop in a pacifier with them around.  Do you know what she said to me?  “Mommy, if they’re really my friends, they’re going to like me whether I have a ‘fafa’ or not.  And if they don’t like me because I have one, then they’re not really my friends.”

Over the years, I learned a lot about who I was when I was five and I’ve obviously tried to be the friend my daughter would have wanted me to be back then.  I’ve tried to raise my daughters to believe that you don’t judge others, but if you do, you learn from those mistakes, even if it takes years.  Because we should all try to be the kind of friend that we would want to have.  Or maybe, even more importantly, that we would want for our children.


Nancy Klingeman is married to Henry and the mom of two teenage daughters. She is a writer, a lawyer, and an observer of life's daily pageantry. 


 The Guest Column is our readers' opportunity to write about a given issue or topic in an in-depth and educational manner.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Have Your Voice Heard Tonight on Vote for $4 Million Extra for Municipal Complex

July 10, 2018

The Berkeley Heights Municipal Complex project is the largest and most expensive local public project we will likely witness as Berkeley Heights residents. It is a vast responsibility. Therefore, it was concerning to learn that the Township Council and Mayor placed an ordinance on the agenda June 26 for an additional $4 million for the municipal complex without much regard to time.

Avoiding 10% Tax Penalty

Do you want access to money from your retirement accounts but aren't sure of the real costs involved?

Most retirement accounts have a set age requirement you must reach before making penalty-free income distributions, which is usually 59.5 but can sometimes be as early as age 50. If you decide to access your accounts earlier, you could face penalties ranging from 10%-25%, which is not ...

Beneficiary Forms - As Important as Your Will

As you plan for the future, don’t leave out one of the most overlooked must-do’s: naming the beneficiaries of your retirement assets. Updating your beneficiary forms ensures that the legacy you worked so hard to build will be distributed correctly. Don’t delay -- the designations on your beneficiary forms supersede those stated in your Will. 

Try answering the ...

17 Years Running and the Pizza is still Hot!! The Downtown Westfield 5K & Pizza Extravaganza is July 25, 2018

July 16, 2018

The 17th Annual Downtown Westfield 5K & Pizza Extravaganza, now more often referred to as the ‘Pizza Run’ will be here in no time! Don’t forget to sign up for a night of running, pizza, prizes, and entertainment! The event will be held on July 25, 2018 with a start time of 7 pm. Register online at before our Monday July 23, 2018, at 11:59 pm deadline will be ...

Union County’s Free Summer Arts Festival Continues July 18 at Echo Lake Park Featuring 5 Against 1

The Union County Summer Arts Festival concert series continues on Wednesday July 18, with the band 5 Against 1, a Pearl Jam  tribute band, taking the stage at Echo Lake Park in Mountainside.

The free series, presented by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders,is held at Echo Lake Park during July and moves to Oak Ridge Park in Clark during August.

5 Against 1, which ...

Award-Winning Senior Art Exhibited at Freeholders Gallery

A new exhibit of award winning artworks by local artists age 60 and up is now on display at the Freeholders Gallery through August 29. Each of the 13 works received first place honors in the countywide Senior Art Exhibit held earlier this summer in the Atrium at Liberty Hall in Union Township.

“Each in their own unique way, these artists have contributed to an enriching, creative ...

Union County Students Invited to Experience a Unique Silent Party

Students ages 12 to 16 are invited to “Youth Chella,” a silent party scheduled for Friday, Aug.16 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. in Union County’s Watchung Reservation at the Trailside Nature and Science Center, 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside.

Admission and refreshments are free with the donation of a snack item. The donations will be provided to students in the ...

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

July 12, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...

Severe Thunderstorm, Flash Flood Warnings in Effect for Berkeley Heights Tuesday Afternoon

July 3, 2018

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ — The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Union County until 2:30 p.m. and a flash flood warning until 5 p.m.

“Torrential rainfall is occurring with this storm, and may lead to flash flooding,” the service warned. “Do not drive your vehicle through flooded roadways.”

Sign up for our free enews and get ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, July 17, 10:00 AM

Healing the Children, new providence

Summit Old Guard

Giving Back

Wed, July 18, 10:30 AM

Berkeley Heights Public Library, Berkeley Heights

Story Time & Craft with DIVA DELORES AND THE ...



Wed, July 18, 1:30 PM

Trailside Nature & Science Center, MountainsidE

Trailside’s Annual Summer Wednesday Matinee ...

Arts & Entertainment Education


Wed, July 18, 6:00 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Senior Summer BBQ at the Summit YMCA

Food & Drink

Wed, July 18, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sing Four to Feature Brahms

Arts & Entertainment

Special June Episode of 'Berkeley Heights Here & Now' Features 6th Annual Street Fair

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – The Berkeley Heights Communications Committee (BHCC) today announced a special edition of Berkeley Heights Here & Now is available on the Township website,


The special episode features the 6th Annual Berkeley Heights Street Fair held on June 24 and includes onsite interviews with attending residents/visitors, event ...

Women Have Special Financial Needs That Advisors Overlook

Women have special financial needs that advisors overlook in two ways: 1) advisors don’t always acknowledge the different planning needs women have and 2) advisors don’t always communicate well with female clients – especially if the client comes to a meeting with her husband. It’s very common for a male advisor to spend much or most of the face time in meetings talking to ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...