Bruce Feiler was just like any other American father - busy holding down a full time job and rearing twin daughters while acting as doting husband and son - as his universe was crashing around him. In this age of insta-gratification, over flowing schedules, barely-enough-time for family dinners (let alone family snacks!), he realized that he'd had enough. Over the course of the next three years, Feiler embarked on a journey of self-discovery that led him to a revelation that all families could lead happier, more fulfilled lives if they only employed a few simple principals:
- Change Family Dinner - Why do we have to fit our own asymmetrical lives into prefab boxes with outdated notions? If your frantic, crazed family can't fit quality time into your evening meal, change the rule! Have family breakfasts, lunches or desserts together a few times a week. Even fast food togetherness will do - the key word is together; who cares what's on the menu?
- Employ Family Meetings - The leading minds in business agree: a cohesive team is a happy team. Make a schedule, stick to it, and meet weekly to chart and discuss your progress. What could we have done differently? Did you notice any weak spots in your system? Who deserves accolades? Let your kids challenge themselves - they should be allowed to assess their own progress and set their own consequences/rewards.
- Rethink Date Night - Let go of the rules that mandate all will be well if you stick with the same old routine. Revisit your early days as a couple when everything was new. Forgo the dinner-and-movie routine and mix it up - sign up for a couples wine appreciation class, take your best friends family bowling or treat your neighbors to a home-cooked meal for four.
This lovingly written how-to guide to navigating today's contemporary family will surely recharge, revamp and remodel your existing nuclear unit. Everyone can use a little more happiness in their lives - give Feiler's March debut a try.