The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More by Bruce Feiler was a great read. There was a time when I didn't read many self-help books, but maybe I'm getting older and wiser and realizing that there are a lot of great ideas that some self-help books offer.
Feiler addresses issues of parenting and marriage in his book on creating happy families. And, while I wouldn't use all of his suggestions, there are several that I want to try at my house.
Two things I pondered on:
* The importance of eating together. My mother liked to say, "a family that eats together, stays together." Turns out she might have known what she was talking about. Feiler cites research that states that family dinners are the single greatest predictor of a child's success in school. Feiler notes that no longer are work weeks composed of only forty hours, and there are a few modifications we may need to make to our evening meals- like gathering for dessert later at night instead of at the traditional supper time- in order to accomplish eating together.
* The use of a checklist in the mornings to assist children to get up and ready on their own. I want to be the mother that Feiler refers to as he visits a family using this system. The mother was able to sit down in the recliner and drink a cup of coffee while her children got ready without her.
While I anticipated this would be a book full of parenting advice and tips, I was surprised that there were also some tidbits for couples on married life. Vacations, grandparents and children in athletics are just a few more topics Feiler hits on.
This is a book I read portions of aloud to co-workers and friends as well as my husband. Feiler writes of his experiences, but also those of friends and of research he has done in the writing of this book. There is no way I can or will attempt all the ideas Feiler gives, but there are several I am wanting to explore further in my quest to help my family achieve greater happiness.