Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What are the ingredients that make some families resilient and happy? Part 2

Duke said that children who have the most self-confidence have what he calls "a strong intergenerational self". They know that they belong to something bigger than themselves.

Leaders in sociology and the military have found similar results. Jim Collins, a Colorado management expert, told me that successful human enterprises of any kind go out of their way to capture their core identity. The same applies to families, he said. Collins suggested that families create a mission statement similar to the ones companies and other organizations use to identify their core values.

The US military found that teaching recruits about the history of their service increases their camaraderie. Commander David G. Smith, chairman of the department of leadership, ethics and law at the US Naval Academy, advises graduating seniors to take incoming freshmen on history-building exercises, such as going to the cemetery to pay tributr to the first naval aviator or visiting the replica B-1 aircraft on campus.

Duke recommended that parents pursue similar activities with their children. Any number of occasions work to convey this sense of history: holidays, vacations, big family get-togethers, even a drive to the mall.

"These traditions become part of your family," Duke said.

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