Ask Bruce Feiler - Thursday, March 28th! discussion

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Ask Bruce!

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message 1: by Margo (new)

Margo (maothrockmorton) | 1 comments Mod
Welcome to the group! Bruce will be answering questions on Thursday, March 28th in this thread only. In the meantime if you have a question for Bruce or just want to introduce yourself feel free to do so in this thread.


message 2: by Kevin (new)

Kevin (kevinfairchild) There has been some great advice on getting children to keep up with household chores through the use of chore charts and whatnot. But what about for adults...?

My soon-to-be-wife and I are in our early 30's and have had a difficult time dividing up tasks efficiently. It can be hard to keep track of who's doing what, whether one (or both) of us is falling behind and needs help, etc.

I'm curious if you have any suggestions for what might help keep tasks highly visible (so we know what needs to be done and what has already been accomplished) without it feeling like a childish activity in need of gold-stars and smiley-faces.


message 3: by Cindie (new)

Cindie | 1 comments How has all your research for your biblical informed your own religious practice and what you teach your children?


message 4: by K. (last edited Mar 25, 2013 11:00AM) (new)

K. | 1 comments I enjoyed listening to your TED talk.

My question is about Learning to Bow. I read it in January as part of a serious interest in becoming a long-term visitor to Japan. It taught me a lot about Japanese culture.

Learning to Bow Inside the Heart of Japan by Bruce Feiler

I am an adult with no college degree. I am also curious and intellectually minded. You had the advantage of an Ivy League résumé when you were invited to teach in Japan. I don't have that, but I am smart and have had my writing published as a freelance journalist.

What do you suggest I do to have the opportunity to live and work in Japan? I don't mind if it takes a while to accomplish.


message 5: by MyOnly (new)

MyOnly | 2 comments Bruce,
No question, just a comment-I read "learning To Bow" many years ago and loved it! It led me to your other books throughout the years and I've enjoyed reading every one. I'm thrilled to see that your health crisis is over and you are continuing to write. I look forward to many more books! Congratulations on your newest book. I'm sure it will be a success!
Kat


message 6: by Patty (new)

Patty | 1 comments Bruce,
I really enjoyed the book and had several take aways that I'm currently trying to implement in my young family. In the beginning of the book, you mentioned a difficult time you had with your family at a multi-generational dinner with misbehaving children, texting and general unhappiness. How did that resolve and what specifics tips would you give to improve that big multi-family dinner?
Best -
Patty


message 7: by Richard (new)

Richard Bruce, I've been a fan of Walking the Bible for a long time. Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the book and the TV series.
-Richard


message 8: by Lela (new)

Lela (lacslc) | 1 comments Hi Bruce. Members of my family and my church are big fans of yours. We have used your video and several books in our weekly study class. We all learned so much. My husband wants to ask you: Is God real or a metaphor? I would like to know what the general idea of life after death is for the majority of Jewish belief systems? Haven't had the pleasure of reading "Learning to Bow" yet. Thank you for many hours of reading pleasure!


message 9: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 1 comments I read your Huffington Post article on how Easter and Passover can make your family happier. I plan to read your new book because of this, but I am especially interested in knowing what your response is to the rise of "nones"--people with no religious affiliation. What does this mean to families and individuals and to our society as a whole?


message 10: by Bruce, Author of The Secrets of Happy Families (new)

Bruce Feiler | 11 comments Mod
Margo wrote: "Welcome to the group! Bruce will be answering questions on Thursday, March 28th in this thread only. In the meantime if you have a question for Bruce or just want to introduce yourself feel free to..."

Hi Everybody, I'm excited to join you today to answer questions about my books. I am grateful for all your interest. And I'm doubly excited because I'm home today, my kids (in spring break) are with my mother-in-law and house is QUIET! So at least for a few hours, I feel like this place is ideal for reading, so makes me feel like I fit in with the spirit of GOODREADS. I'll check in a few times today, and you can also feel free to reach out to me directly through www.brucefeiler.com. Now, to your questions!

Bruce


message 11: by Clay Nichols (last edited Mar 28, 2013 07:39AM) (new)

Clay Nichols | 2 comments Hey Bruce, I'm one of the co-founders of DadLabs and a co author of DadLabs: Pregnancy and Year One. I've got a question.

It seems like social media and technology get a pretty bad rap when it comes to families, perceived as a threat, especially when it comes to teens, but couldn't these communication tools be used to further family happiness? If Facebook is used to tell stories, share family photos and bring us closer together (virtually), could it be argued that it is a force for good?


message 12: by Bruce, Author of The Secrets of Happy Families (new)

Bruce Feiler | 11 comments Mod
Kevin wrote: "There has been some great advice on getting children to keep up with household chores through the use of chore charts and whatnot. But what about for adults...?

My soon-to-be-wife and I are in our..."


Ooh, I'm sure this is against protocol, but I can't resist answering the first question! I hear you. My wife and I used to have a 7:42 fight ever night, which is when we discussed logistics -- picking up milk, dropping off dry cleaning, ordering tix for Tgiving. I took a three day course from the Harvard Negotiation Project -- it forms an entire chapter of THE SECRETS OF HAPPY FAMILIES. We don't do a checklist, but here's what we do do: 1) we no longer fight (or have these conversations) btwn 6 - 8 pm, which is the highest stress time for families; 2) we no longer hold these convos in my office, b/c I was at my desk, with all its equipment, and she was in a low chair, meaning I was in the "power position;" 3) we now sit face to face in the living room, or if it's really tense, we sit on a cushioned surface in our bedroom, side by side, b/c research shows cushioned surfaces make you more flexible and side by side makes you more collaborative.

The larger point: Don't believe the hype that relationships or families are organic; taking small steps to work on your new family will make it work better.


message 13: by Bruce, Author of The Secrets of Happy Families (new)

Bruce Feiler | 11 comments Mod
Myonly wrote: "Bruce,
No question, just a comment-I read "learning To Bow" many years ago and loved it! It led me to your other books throughout the years and I've enjoyed reading every one. I'm thrilled to see t..."


Thank you so much. This makes me want to tear up. And guess what: I'm heading to Japan next week for the first time in over two decades!! I'm shooting a new show for PBS called "SACRED JOURNEYS WITH BRUCE FEILER," in which I'm retracing six pilgrimages around the world, and the Buddhist trek around Shikoku Island is one of them. Excited and nervous to be going back at the same time.


message 14: by Bruce, Author of The Secrets of Happy Families (new)

Bruce Feiler | 11 comments Mod
Richard wrote: "Bruce, I've been a fan of Walking the Bible for a long time. Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the book and the TV series.
-Richard"


Thanks. I still hear from readers of WALKING THE BIBLE all the time, and it's always thrilling. See my note about about shooting a new series for PBS.


message 15: by Bruce, Author of The Secrets of Happy Families (last edited Mar 28, 2013 07:49AM) (new)

Bruce Feiler | 11 comments Mod
Patty wrote: "Bruce,
I really enjoyed the book and had several take aways that I'm currently trying to implement in my young family. In the beginning of the book, you mentioned a difficult time you had with you..."


I'm delighted you found the book helpful, and would love to know which tips resonated the most. That dinner described at the outset of THE SECRETS OF HAPPY FAMILIES was pivotal in an important way. When I can, I like to spend a few minutes before heading into a gathering like that thinking of something that can bring people together -- a game, a question, an activity. One of my mottoes of writing is "Remember the Letterman Principle." It's a bit outdated (Letterman was on top of the world when I coined it), but the point is that anyone reading a book has many things to distract them. What I'm writing has to be interesting enough to hold their interest. The same holds with family gatherings. If people are texting or bickering, I usually take it to mean we should be finding something more interesting to hold their attention. I would look to the HUNGER GAMES part of my book, in chapter 2, where I list the table games that passed our test with multiple generations. And before the next reunion, maybe flip through the ideas in the last chapter about scavenger hunts, relay races, or collective games to get everybody doing something together.


message 16: by Bruce, Author of The Secrets of Happy Families (new)

Bruce Feiler | 11 comments Mod
Clay wrote: "Hey Bruce, I'm one of the co-founders of DadLabs and a co author of DadLabs: Pregnancy and Year One. I've got a question.

It seems like social media and technology get a pretty bad rap when it com..."


Oh, so with you here, Clay. First, thanks for all your work on dads. You're a pioneer, and we need you! If you go over to my site, www.brucefeiler.com, you'll find a list of all my NYT columns on families. There's one -- Our Plugged-In Summer -- that's about this. I was being ornery and tried to upend the conventional wisdom about technology by pulling out a device AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE during our vacation. I'll try to embed the link, but don't know if this platform allows. http://brucefeiler.com/books/bruces-t...

So your larger point, I agree with: My dad lives in Georgia and can't really travel, and my mom takes care of him. But they use Skype to talk w/ my kids and we did this thing for a year where we sent him questions about family history, and he answered. FB works with this. My dad also sends slides of their travels when my kids have school projects.

Having said that, I am still an advocate of restricting tech with kids. A prof at Stanford told me recently kids are not learning to reach nonverbal communications, so we must give them more face time. It scared my to death.


message 17: by Bruce, Author of The Secrets of Happy Families (new)

Bruce Feiler | 11 comments Mod
Patrick wrote: "I enjoyed listening to your TED talk.

My question is about Learning to Bow. I read it in January as part of a serious interest in becoming a long-term visitor to Japan. It taught me a lot about Ja..."


Thanks for your comment about my TED talk. I was SO nervous giving it, but it seems to have spread around the world. I'm kinda shocked, but also stoked. What an amazing platform they've built.

I actually do have a piece of advice here. As I've been traveling on tour these last few weeks, I've met a number of young people who work at Japanese consulates around the country; there are a number of them in big cities. They are all veterans of teaching in Japan, and are thrilled to help folks like you. I did the JET program, but there are many others. If you reach out to the consulate nearest you, I'd bet you'd find open arms who could point you toward resources.


message 18: by Bruce, Author of The Secrets of Happy Families (new)

Bruce Feiler | 11 comments Mod
Leslie wrote: "I read your Huffington Post article on how Easter and Passover can make your family happier. I plan to read your new book because of this, but I am especially interested in knowing what your respo..."

Thank you. I hope you enjoy the book. There's an entire chapter about the role of religion in families. The research suggests that having a strong moral code in families is critical, but the research also suggests that it doesn't matter what religion it is, how often you attend services, or whether you believe in God. "Nones" as you call them are up to around 15% of the population now. But the number of folks who identify themselves as spiritual, who want answers to large questions, and who still struggle with their faith, is much higher. I see the trend as moving away from religious institutions with their dogma and doctrine, and more in the direction of the family, where individuals can decide for themselves what values are most important to them.


message 19: by Bruce, Author of The Secrets of Happy Families (new)

Bruce Feiler | 11 comments Mod
Hi everyone, I'll be checking in throughout the day to answer. In the meantime, since we mentioned my TED talk on families, I thought I should post a link: http://www.ted.com/talks/bruce_feiler.... Thanks for welcoming me into your community.


message 20: by Clay Nichols (new)

Clay Nichols | 2 comments Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Bruce. I look forward to reading about your plugging in summer. Keep up the fantastic work. You have a freshly minted fan and evangelist here.


message 21: by TK (new)

TK (theicecreamista) Hi Bruce, I'm not married and have no children but have found your book to be helpful in improving communication with my extended family (parents, brother, sis-in-law, niece/nephew, etc.) and in my relationship with my romantic partner. So, thank you!

Also, I was wondering, which interview was your favorite that you conducted in the research for this book? Who was the most colorful character, or the most not-what-you-expected?


message 22: by Bruce, Author of The Secrets of Happy Families (new)

Bruce Feiler | 11 comments Mod
TK wrote: "Hi Bruce, I'm not married and have no children but have found your book to be helpful in improving communication with my extended family (parents, brother, sis-in-law, niece/nephew, etc.) and in my..."

First of all, thanks. One of the more pleasant things that's come out of the book is people who don't have kids who enjoyed the information I gathered, or people in companies who picked up tips to make their company or organization culture work better. Proof that one of the amazing things about writing book is you put them into the world and can never quite predict what's going to happen to them. Sometimes you're disappointed (I've been there) but more often you're pleasantly surprised.

Favorite interview: Marshall Duke, who wrote the DO YOU KNOW study I wrote about in Chapter 2 about the importance of family history.

Colorful character: The Snoopologist who looked in our closets, analyzed our piles, and drove my wife crazy!

Best surprise experience: Goruck, and the Green Berets who improved our family reunions!


message 23: by Bruce, Author of The Secrets of Happy Families (new)

Bruce Feiler | 11 comments Mod
Kenny wrote: "Dear Bruce,

Good evening. Thanks for taking the time from your busy schedule to answer questions here at Good Reads. If you don't mind I would like to ask the following two questions:

1] If there..."


Thanks for the kind words and welcome to GOODREADS.

1. Working together in teams. The Japanese pioneered it, but now we know it's vital in all corners of the globe. When I went on a school trip, the school told the kids they had to be on time. They also said only one child per group could carry a watch. That guaranteed they stuck together! And gave them practice.

2. You won't go to hell for criticizing the Bible. I'd be confined there permanently. And you certainly won't get any complaints from me about griping about the boring language in the KJV. Yes, beauty, but all the thees and thous are very distant. My whole posture toward the Bible is to remove the black covers and gilt-edged pages and view it as a living, breathing entity. To me, I don't even see it as a book. I see it as a map.


message 24: by MyOnly (new)

MyOnly | 2 comments Great! I'll check it out!
Bruce wrote: "Myonly wrote: "Bruce,
No question, just a comment-I read "learning To Bow" many years ago and loved it! It led me to your other books throughout the years and I've enjoyed reading every one. I'm th..."



message 25: by S. (new)

S. | 1 comments Hello Mr. F, sorry for the belated post and possibly you'll never see this, but I only subsequently read Big Tip and Class which were outstanding achievements. Many kudos


message 26: by TK (new)

TK (theicecreamista) Hi everyone, I just wanted to let you know that Bruce is on his Facebook page tonight answering questions about the book! Please head over to his page and continue the conversation that we started back in March! Here's the link:
https://www.facebook.com/BruceFeilerA...


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