Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bruce Feiler’s “The Secrets of Happy Families” Kindle HDX Giveaway!

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Wow, so I know all about the basis for this new book:  the Sandwich Generation. If you have little kids still living with you or older children that flown back to your comfy nest and are also taking care of your too are part of what the Bruce Feiler and many others call the "Sandwich Generation."

Feiler mentions other novel concepts that weren't around when we were kids like "Life Boating." It is the modern way to make it through life now...a totally new concept for families although challenging.  How we just jam in the lifeboat and try to stay alive paddling like crazy! Many of us have had to incorporate this changing lifestyle into the way we live day to day through no choice of our own.  Holiday celebrations are an opportunity for disagreements and lots of tension with teenagers texting and parents health issues.  Many families are falling apart more often than they used to on a regular basis. I see this with many of my friends and colleagues.  It can get so stressful!  Okay, so what was the catalyst to all this crazy dysfunction in families?  Feiler shares that all in his fascinating book.  Even more important, the author shares  what it is that makes some families effective, resilient, functioning and just, well....happy.  Isn't that what we all want in the long run?  I truly think so I just think many of us need some direction.

Feiler discusses how today's parents can navigate all these new paths that are a reality now.  The big stuff like teaching discipline and negotiating screen time. Throwing some fun in there too though. He says it is really possible!  He shares how it really is possible to keep timeless values in a world that prizes instant gratification with texting and internet 24 hours a day via small and big screens. He shows you how to actually find time to be a couple and still be good parents.  Feiler discusses how you can rewrite the book of life rules and introduces some interesting but not totally novel concepts. Bruce Feiler is very open that most of the ideas he brings into play in the big are not big old secrets.  Some of his sources that he shares are the Harvard Negotiation Project, ESPN coaches, Green Berets and even Warren Buffet's banker as well as Silicon Valley game designers. Kind of wacky but it all comes together.  Coaches know alot about building teams, and bankers know how to make money work for you as in allowances for example. 

The author has some simple ideas on how to connect as a family.  How about bringing a new vocabulary word to the dinner table each night? We are big readers (well, at least my daughter and I are!) so we liked that idea.  Even my hubby thought it was great. We thought that was very doable as we do eat dinner together most every night. If you don't that one isn't going to work for you. But you could even keep a dictionary in the car and introduce the word on the way to activities each day if you have that kind of schedule.
The author reminds us not to forget to share our history with our children. This is a key concept in The Secrets of Happy Families. You want your children to feel like they are part of the family.  Our daughter loves to hear our stories over and over. Gramma is good about sharing too and these are classics for us. I was glad to hear about this because we have been doing this since our daughter was a toddler. She loves to hear Gramma's hurricane story from her childhood. How about my Chicken Gumbo Soup story. Yup.
Another idea Feiler suggested was permitting your children to pick their own punishments.  I was kind of dubious about this but he says that kids tend to be harsher with themselves than we would be with them.  He goes on to say that the children feel more invested in the rules when they have a say in the consequences. I have to think about this one. Bruce Feiler also suggests weekly family meetings...I think this might be an excellent suggestion for a larger family. We have one child so we are pretty focused...perhaps when you have 4 or 5 children it is a great idea to check in with a meeting once a week so everyone is on the same page.  He mentions the life skills kids learn at these meetings from team leadership, negotiating and building winning teams.
As a busy working mom who is very involved with her family, I would recommend giving The Secrets of Happy Families a read.  There are definitely some tidbits that are takeaways for any family with children. Not everything is going to work for every family but there are a lot of great concepts that are useful and something for every family big and small. 

Would you just LOVE to win a Kindle HDX?  Enter here and good luck to everyone!

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