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A Different View

Fool-proof guide to help ensure a happy family

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Marie O'Malley, Denis McElligott, Deputy Kathleen Lynch, Minister of State of the Department of Health, Emanuele Feare, Sarah McDonagh, Helen Madden and Pat Kennedy.prepare to cut a cake to mark the opening of the Clarinbridge Nursing Home's new services. Photo: Stan Shields.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There are times in any household when you’d give your right arm for the key to a happy family – but one man’s suggestions would probably really only encourage you to leave things the way they are.

Bruce Feiler is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Secrets of Happy Families, and he has established half a dozen characteristics that the happiest of homes have in common.

For what it’s worth, I think ours has none of them – and to the best of my knowledge, I also don’t know of any home that does.

But for what it’s worth, this is his template for a happy family – and it begins with creating a family mission statement.

By this he means coming up with a list of what’s important, in terms of values and what it means to be part of a family. As this involves actually communicating with each other, we’re in deep trouble already.

Second suggestion is to share your family history – which is fine if it’s actually worth sharing. Some of us have spent half a lifetime trying to forget it, so the notion of opening that can of worms to share with your kids is terrifying beyond belief.

But apparently researchers at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, carried out a study that showed that the children who know more about their family history had a greater belief that they could control their world and a higher degree of self-confidence.

Which is fine if you come from a long list of high achievers – otherwise best move on to number three … a weekly family meeting.

He describes this as a sort of family board meeting – 20 minutes, once a week where Bruce and his brood basically ask three questions.

What worked well this week, what didn’t work well this week, and what will we agree to work on in the week ahead?

“And if the kids meet the goal, they get to help pick a reward. And if they don’t, they get to help pick a punishment,” he says – although presumably that punishment/reward cannot involve actually drowning Bruce.

In any event that should lead smoothly onto his next cornerstone – how to fight right.

This isn’t a boxing match like you were making a reality television series for Channel 4, but rather a way of resolving arguments by effectively boring all concerned into submission.

“We ask our kids to come up with three alternatives. In negotiation speak, this is ‘Expand the pie before you divide the pie’. And nobody is leaving the table until there are three options,” he explains.

Fifth on the list is one that could work – and that’s to have family dinner together … at any time of the day.

Because apparently there is a wave of research in the US that shows that children who eat dinner with their families are less likely to drink, smoke, do drugs, get pregnant, commit suicide or develop eating disorders.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Sporting rivalry doesn’t have to mean segregated supporters

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Three sporting teams whose boundaries come up to the back door of each other’s patch were all in action at the one venue – two of them against each other – at the weekend.

If it was the Premiership, it wouldn’t – and couldn’t – have happened because there would be carnage either inside or outside the ground . . .or both.

But this was Pearse Stadium and the county senior football championship, an afternoon’s entertainment that might not have been on Sky Sports’ radar, but which was no less crucial for those with a vested interest all the same.

First up, Oughterard were up against their nearest neighbours Killannin for a semi-final place, while the other leg of this local stool saw reigning champions Moycullen successfully put their crown on the line against Tuam Stars.

It goes without saying that the crowd was in the high hundreds or low thousands; this wasn’t Old Trafford or Anfield with 60,000 or 70,000 fans congregating from all corners of the globe, never mind the country.

So it wasn’t Celtic and Rangers or City against United; it was neighbours and families and friends intermingled all in one place, albeit wearing different colours.

And even allowing for the intensity of local rivalries, the ties that bind are infinitely stronger than the boundaries that divide.

Half the Killannin team went to school in Oughterard. The Monaghans, who line out for Oughterard, are sons of Terence who was steeped in Moycullen football before moving parish.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Homework only goes to prove parents haven’t all the answers

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Anyone fortunate enough to be a parent will always remember the moment when their child transitioned from unqualified hero worship to thinking that ma and da, if not quite clowns, at least possessed feet of clay.

And that moment often coincided with the time you could no longer make head nor tail of their homework.

You were grand with addition and subtraction, even multiplication and basic division – but when theorems or algebra or physics or foreign languages came into the equation, suddenly your infallible status took a nosedive straight into the nearest bin.

The consolation is that we are not alone – because most parents admit they’ve forgotten even the basics from their schooldays, leaving them cruelly exposed when the teenagers come looking for help.

A recent UK survey asked 1,500 parents aged over 30 what they had forgotten from their schooldays.

Top of the list was algebra – forgotten by half of them – followed by trigonometry and Pythagoras’s Theorem. About a third of respondents could no longer remember how to do long division – or name ten or more elements from the periodic table.

A quarter didn’t know the difference between an isosceles and a scalene triangle, and almost a fifth had forgotten how to use a protractor. Most of those probably thought a compass was for pricking the back of the student sitting in front of you.

Other classroom classics now lost in the sands of time included a failure to recognise cloud formations, identifying an oxbow lake, remembering quotes from Shakespeare, or explaining the difference between volts and amps.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Everybody knows a Dave – but it still don’t make a storm

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It’s been a tough week for Ireland’s Daves and Davids – ever since we found out just how close we were to having our own storm, only to have it snatched away from us by a public vote that inexplicably went for Dudley instead.

It doesn’t matter than Dudley hardly even sounds like a gust of wind, let alone a gale force storm; it just conjures up an image of a drunken Dudley Moore in Arthur, meandering all over the place – more of a danger to himself than the roof of your house is.

The only consolation is that, if it wasn’t Dudley, it still wouldn’t have been Dave – because in compiling the shortlist, our own Queen of the Weather Forecast, Evelyn Cusack, made a stronger case for Storm Diarmuid, ahead of Dave, David and even Dafydd.

The Brits were keen on Storm Dave, but part of the reason that there is an annual debate among the Met Offices is to ensure a disparate selection, with something for each of the participating nationalities.

That’s why we got Barra, Pól, Seán and Méabh, and the Welsh got Arwen and possibly Gladys, and the Dutch got Vergil and Willemien, with a couple of crossover names like Jack and Kim and Ruby in there for good measure.

But when it came to Storm D, our Met Éireann boss wouldn’t even entertain Dermot as a compromise over Diarmuid, according to the correspondence on this year’s storm-naming process, as revealed under Freedom of Information this week.

Ultimately, it didn’t matter in the end because the people decided anyway. They were given a choice of Duncan, Dudley and Dafydd. . .and Dudley was the winner, perhaps – the commentators think – because of Dudley Dursley, erstwhile star of Harry Potter. As opposed to Dudley Moore.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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