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I was surprised when I started reading The Secrets of Happy Families, and it started to talk about agile. We have just started working in the agile framework at my workplace, and it changed the way we viewed software development.
Briefly, it involves moving the decisions and ownership down from the executives and puts the workers in control. Work is broken down into small tasks, and meeting are held daily to share the progress.
This was my favourite chapter of the book, and it had what I think was the most important advice.
Hold Weekly Family Meetings
Not a new concept, but the way he tied it to agile was very interesting, and something I hadn’t heard before. The author discusses how he implemented weekly meeting with his family and it made a huge difference. Here are some tips from the book.
- Hold a mandatory weekly meeting that all members attend
- Give each member the chance to voice what could be improved from the previous week and what worked well
- Make sure they relate to the family
- Dont interrupt, there are no bad ideas
- Pick one thing from what was mentioned, to improve for the coming week
- Let the kids think of solutions
- At the end of the meeting everyone shares what’s coming up next week (soccer games, school projects ) so there are no last minute surprises
Dont be afraid to talk about sex
My next favorite chapter was about talking to your kids about sex. The author shares stories about a neighbourhood sex mom, who educated all her children’s friends. It talks about starting at a young age with age appropriate education. There was one thing I read in the chapter that I had never though about before. It’s about naming body parts.
Parents don’t usually have an issue when talking to little boys when it comes to naming private parts. We will tell our sons to wash their penis in the tub. But with girls we use cute names, like vajaja. Or just privates. (personally we say pee pee) Why is this? Why is it’s acceptable to talk to boys about their privates and call them what they are, but not girls? Have you noticed this?
Other Chapters I liked
- The Care and Feeding of Grandparents
- Give war a Chance
- Narrate your Family History
The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler had some good moments, and chapters I really liked. The were a few chapters I skimmed trough quickly. They were still well written, but I just felt I heard the advice before and they didn’t offer a new spin on it. Overall I would recommend this book for the good tips it has.