Becoming a Happy Family: Pathways to the Family Soul by Susan Smith Kuczmarski

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Susan Smith Kuczmarski
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Book review

About the Book

There is no perfect family. We are all works in progress. This book is a must read for anyone searching for answers to the family happiness puzzle, which in many ways is all of us. It serves as a guide to find the "sticky glue" that supports the family bond, to enhance the family's spirit and energy, and to deepen connections across the family network, which is today refreshingly diverse in membership and structure.

Every family has some degree of imbalance (some more than others) and every reader of this book can gain a clearer picture of how to nurture happiness, care for a family's soul and, just as importantly, engage and encourage other family members in this quest.

You can't touch the soul of the family, but you are touched by it every day. Family soul is the memories and traits that make the family unique, including rituals, stories, experiences, conflicts, and love. It is the family's complex network of relationships, values and activities. It is how we talk, feel and interact when we're together. Through this book, you will learn how to:

- Fortify the family soul with six vitamins or strengtheners: humor, emotion, acceptance, renewal, togetherness, and struggle
- Identify and applaud the caretaker the champion of the family soul
- Use the happiness tool kit ten tangible ways to help families think and do differently
- Recognize and apply practices that are integral to carving out happy and dynamic families: start a family of one's own, welcome in-laws and special people, bond with friends, discover a soul friend and add pets to the scene.

The exercises and tools are practical, accessible, and easy to implement. The author weaves together dozens of colorful, funny, and tender anecdotes that surfaced in her research, with illustrations that capture their spirit and theme. Written with empathy and good humor, the inspiring ideas and tips found here will motivate you to listen selflessly, speak from the heart, and practice whooping and praising descriptively - starting now!

PRAISE FOR Becoming A Happy Family: Pathways to the Family Soul

The secret to making yourself happy is to make someone else happy. The author lays out a clear step-by-step path for bringing happiness home.
- Deepak Chopra, author of over sixty books on spirituality

Family is the foundation of our lives. The values we learn from these early, intimate relationships guide our choices for many years. Dr. Kuczmarski understands the vital importance of family and offers valuable insights and tools to cultivate greater connection. Her expertise will help any family grow stronger and discover its soul.
- Dipak C. Jain, the INSEAD Chaired Professor of Marketing

With insight and empathy, Dr. Susan Smith Kuczmarski charts new ground in helping families discover and nourish the soul that makes them unique.
- Mary W. Quigley, mothering21.com and author, Going Back to Work: A Survival Guide for Comeback Moms

This book will help American families in all their beautiful and diverse forms thrive and prosper in the ever-changing landscape of today. In embracing the uniqueness of modern families, Dr. Kuczmarski powerfully navigates the truths that define family life for us all: insecurity and confidence, doubt and courage, empathy and love.
- Zach Wahls, author of My Two Moms, and LGBTQ advocate

In a time when much attention is being paid to families falling apart, the author focuses on how we can keep our families together. At the core is what she calls the family soul - a concept ephemeral to most of us, but Dr. Kuczmarski makes it real. This book provides a practical prescription and tools for restoring the soul in our ever-changing families.
- Michele Moeller Chandler, Ph.D., Compose A Life Professor, Williams College


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