stories that bond usWe all tell ourselves stories to help us understand life and the events that happened to us. Developing a strong, positive narrative for their life story helps individuals be resilient and succeed. Turns out, the same is true of families. Duke University researchers Dr. Marshall Duke and Dr. Robyn Fivus have found this holds true for families as well. The more children knew about their families and their family history, the more resilient the children where when faced with challenges, the better they could moderate the effects of stress.

Why? Because knowing about their family made them feel part of a larger family and they took comfort in that “unifying narrative.”

Research shows that most happy families communicate well. Yet that means more than “talking through problems.” “Talking also means telling a positive story about yourselves. When faced with a challenge, happy families, like happy people (or organizations), just add a new chapter to their life story that shows them overcoming the hardship.”

If you want a happier family or tighter bonds in your organization “create, refine and retell the story of your family’s (or organization’s) positive moments and your ability to bounce back from the difficult ones.”

This post quotes and is drawn from “The Stories That Bind Us Help Children Face Challenges” The New York Times, Sunday, March 17, 2013, which in turn was adapted from “The Secrets of Happy Families: How to Improve your Morning, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smart, Go Out and Play, and Much More,” by Bruce Feiler; 1964–