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Discover the Secrets of Happy Families, with Bruce Feiler
Author Bruce Feiler lists the three major family shifts of the past generation and explains how exploring these shifts led him to write his latest book.
Bruce Feiler is one of America’s most popular voices on family, faith, and survival. He writes the “This Life” column about contemporary families for the Sunday New York Times and is the author of five consecutive New York Times bestsellers. For his new book The Secrets of Happy Families, he sought out the most creative minds from Silicon Valley to the country’s top negotiators, from the set of Modern Family to the Green Berets and asked what team-building exercises and problem-solving techniques they use with their families. Feiler then tested these ideas with his own wife and kids.
There have been three big changes in the family in the last generation. First the definition of the family has changed. So we now have adopted families, blended families, nuclear families living in separate houses and divorced families living in the same house. Also we have women have flooded into the workplace. Two-thirds of women now work outside of the home. And the last thing which we don’t talk about as much is that men have come flooding into the parenting space. Dads are much more involved in families. And I think this new generation of parents, because they are much more active and much busier – technology, work, et cetera, they’re much more interested in solutions. So that the old debates, be strict like the Chinese or be lax like the French, are no longer satisfying for them. They want results, they want to know what works and they want to be able to do it in their families.
I’m the father of identical twin girls and my wife works and we were incredibly chaotic. We just felt lost and out of control. We would turn to our parents but their experience was so outdated as to be almost quaint. We’d Facebook our friends but they’re just as clueless as we are. And then we went looking for results and the traditional solutions just seemed very tired and out of date. And yet at the same time that these family experts were telling us the same thing over and over again, in every other area of contemporary life from business to sports to the military – there’s all these new ideas about having teams and groups work more effectively.
And so I wanted to out, find out what those folks were doing in their homes and then test those ideas out with my own wife and kids. And my wife put one red line in the sand. She said, “Okay, I’m willing to try new things. I’m desperate but I don’t want theory. I don’t want some academic telling me what to do. I want to know that real families were actually doing these real things, then I’m willing to try.”
There is this idea about families that exists no place else. We have our jobs – we work on those. We have our hobbies – we work on those. We have our bodies, our relationships – we work on those. Somehow there’s this idea that families are just supposed to be. It’s supposed to be organic. That kids come with their own instruction manual or something. But every parent I know doesn’t feel that way. We feel like our lives are out of control. And if I could put it in one headline I would say that as a parent I felt like I was always playing defense and never playing offense. And yet there’s all these new ideas out there. So if that’s where the action is – if the action is in business or in sports or in someplace else, let’s bring those ideas in.
If your family doesn’t have this problem, fine. Don’t take these solutions. I’m surely not wagging my finger and telling people what to do. I’m saying that we were desperate for new ideas. I went founding them and I found a lot of them in unlikely places.
When I set out working on The Secrets of Happy Families I made a vow to myself that I wouldn’t squeeze everything into a list of three or five or seven things that you must do to have a happy family. I don’t know about you but I hate those lists. I forget number two. I disagree with number four and I feel like I’m doomed. One of the things I tried to do was to put 200 new ideas in this book because it would be very obvious that nobody could do them all. But if you pick three or five or seven that works for you and it might be different than what works for me or what works for my sister, I think you can have a happier family.
And, to me, the biggest takeaway is you don’t need some master plan. You don’t need some big, new scheme that’s gonna be hard to set up and impossible to follow. You need to take small steps and accumulate small wins. What’s the secret to a happy family? Try.
Author Bruce Feiler lists the three major family shifts of the past generation: shifting definitions, working women, and a more intent focus on solutions over debate. He then explains how exploring these shifts led him to write his latest book, The Secrets of Happy Families.
Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.
A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.
- The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
- Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.
COVID-19 and the brain<p>A growing body of research reveals alarming neurological complications among COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday, for example, researchers from University College London published a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/doi/10.1093/brain/awaa240/5868408" target="_blank">study</a> in the journal Brain that describes how some patients have suffered temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage, and other neurological problems concurrent with COVID-19.</p><p>Some patients suffered brain inflammation as a result of a rare disease called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which can cause numbness, seizures, and confusion. One patient in the study even hallucinated monkeys and lions in her home.</p>
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images<p>A separate study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198407/" target="_blank">Journal of Clinical Neuroscience</a> notes that some COVID-19 patients have also suffered neurological complications like impaired consciousness and acute cerebrovascular disease. The study notes that past viruses like MERS and SARS also seemed to cause neurological problems.</p><p>A troubling finding among this growing body of research is that some patients seem to suffer neurological damage even when respiratory symptoms aren't obvious. Additionally, scientists aren't sure whether damage from the disease will be permanent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," Dr. Ross Paterson, joint first author of the University College London study, said in a <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/ucl-iid070620.php" target="_blank">press release</a>. "Doctors needs to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."</p><p>If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 and want to enroll in the study, visit <a href="https://www.cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study" target="_blank">cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study</a>.</p>
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.
- Outplacement is an underperforming $5 billion dollar industry. A new non-profit coalition by SkillUp intends to disrupt it.
- More and more Americans will be laid off in years to come due to automation. Those people need to reorient their career paths and reskill in a way that protects their long-term livelihood.
- SkillUp brings together technology and service providers, education and training providers, hiring employers, worker outreach, and philanthropies to help people land in-demand jobs in high-growth industries.
Source: McKinsey Global Institute analysis [PDF]<p>Work in understanding the skills at the heart of the new digital economy is leading to novel assessments that allow individuals to prove mastery to faithfully represent their abilities—but also to give weight and stackability to the emerging ecosystem of micro-credentials that make education more seamless across time and education providers. And we are seeing the beginnings of a renewal in the liberal arts, focused on building human skills in affordable ways that are accessible to many more individuals and far more effective.</p><p>Amidst these dark times, there is much opportunity to refresh the nation's education and training solutions to support the success of individuals and society writ large.</p>