In my spare time (not that I have much of that!), I've been listening to another great book that was recommended by Mrs. Jolley. The name of the book is "The Secrets of Happy Families" by Bruce Feiler. The author offers many practical and easy to implement ideas that may improve the way your family functions. After listening, I have started using one of his strategies at my house. The second chapter of the book addresses family dinner, which the author acknowledges can be hard to make happen in our busy overscheduled lives. He emphasizes that "IT'S NOT ABOUT THE DINNER; IT'S ABOUT THE FAMILY" and suggests many ways to make meals more meaningful. One of his suggestions includes something he refers to as "Bad & Good" during which everyone has to report on something bad and something good that happened to them that day. We've started that in my family and it's been interesting so far. My oldest son says everything is great (which I know can't always be true) and has a hard time picking out things that could be better. Feiler quotes research that found that games such as this help children learn to deal with the ups and downs of life and also help to develop empathy. We will continue to implement this activity at home and I hope to try others from the book as well. In future blog postings I'll share other ideas and reveal how they are working at the Shute household! In addition, our parent Liaison, Carolyn Curtis-Mahoney is hoping to share strategies with parents as well. I'd love to hear your thoughts!