Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler, ©2014

Improve Your Mornings, Tell Your Family History, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More
The Secrets of Happy Families

Seeing what works in business and families are compiled by the author and included in this book. Time together, being a part, communicating, encouraging, commitment, appreciating, connecting socially. Coming together as a family cements heritage that draws us together. One family we know has one night set aside that is for only family; the other days can include friends and family gatherings together. One anticipated night alone together to play games, having a special meal to honor the favorite of one ~ chili with sour cream and grated cheese sounds mighty good to me. Celebrate positive moments.

“I think you are a wonderful Mother.” Memories are a wonderful thing. A suggestion in this book is having a weekly family meeting at the same time and day. I did this with my children when I was a young mom. We started out with a continue the story, which they loved; making up a story as you go along and the next person adds to it... "And then...." We would talk about what was the best thing about our family that week and what we needed help with. You could say anything you wanted. Asking my young son, “What do you think?” - his answer above.

Other growth points are children setting goals that involve them, learning decision-making; family mealtime and the importance of shared voice ~ sharing our own history and that of our families ~ remember when...; writing gratitude journals. To eat together for breakfast as family mealtime, eating earlier after school before going for activities; having a self-directed morning checklist the children check off and are responsible for ~ making their lunch, having everything they need in their backpack, readying themselves for school. Training responsibility rather than doing for them. Having a snack time at night, bringing family together.

What does our family stand for? ~ core values; faith, family, specific traditions we do every year; ...grateful, forgiving, optimistic, and polite. (60) Teaching managing money; debt and savings. Intimacy, five love-languages, grandparenting, vacations. Conflict-solving; talking now, and not about it for all of your life. Sharing in difficult conversations; building a happier home. Creating inviting living areas in your home.

Also in the book, The Happy Families Toolkit with some tips and ideas to get your family organized and sharing, and improve your togetherness; narrate your family's history, and a discussion guide. For more tips, watch Bruce's TED Talk on Happy Families at

Highlights were outlining the toolkit in the back to give suggestions on beginning ideas in this book, and especially having family time, one-on-one and together with chores and playing games. Giving continuity, beyond being individual, part of a family, connectedness.

Bruce Feiler
Bruce Feiler writes a column in contemporary families for the New York Times and is the author of six consecutive New York Times bestsellers, including "The Council of Dads." He is the host of several series on PBS, a popular lecturer, and a frequent commentator on radio and television. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and twin daughters. Follow Bruce on Facebook and Twitter.

***Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group for inviting me to review Bruce Feiler's The Secrets of Happy Families. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

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