Friday, July 3, 2009
Developing a Family Constitution.
I was contacted a couple weeks ago about a new book of family relationships by Scott Gale entitled Your Family Constitution. The cover expands on the title, adding the phrase 'A Modern Approach to Family Values and Household Structure.' And I have to admit, being an at-home mom, I thought, "Hmmmm, what might Mister Gale have to share with me, seeing as how he's at the office while I'm in the diaper trenches?"
Apparently, a lot.
He had me at the first chapter.
Mr. Gale recounts what he calls Black Sunday, a literal day at the beach that exposed the frayed edges of his parenting with some classic fit throwing on the part of his kids and himself. His narrative is humble and transparent; he doesn't attempt to to sugarcoat his anger and frustration with his own behavior or his kids. And he recognizes Black Sunday as a watershed, a chance to identify the weaknesses in his family communication and to correct it.
And so begins his constitutional journey.
Mr. Gale realized that too many areas of communication and expectation were unclear when it came to family dynamics. He identifies the top three areas of breakdown as Lack of Time, Lack of Clarity and Lack of Consistency. He pored through a variety of books on discipline and parenting but often found their solutions too mired in negative commentary on the state of today's youth or too permissive. And so through trial and error, the concept for a family constitution was born.
Just like the Constitution (as in The Constitution), the Family Constitution is predicated on creating a system of mutual, peaceful co-existence with agreed upon expectations and consequences. Mr. Gale leads his reader through his family's process of developing their constitution and gives numerous steps and hints for guiding other families to developing their own. In his characteristic guileless style, he recounts his first attempt at the constitution and his second. He lists the things that initially worked well and the things that didn't. And through his journey, Mr. Gale has collected enough experience to pack the final chapters of his book with helpful lists, worksheets and tips. His concept could be easily molded to families of every stripe and polka dot, blended, Grandma living in, all the other iterations of our modern families. It is a concept built on communication, respect and concrete expectations, where every member has a voice and a document that provides a compass.
Bravo, Mr. Gale.
You can also visit his website at
And he has graciously offered a fortunate Octamom reader the opportunity to win his book in a giveaway. So let's come up with an Octamom Giveaway Constitution, shall we?
Leave a comment for a chance to win. Tweet about it, let me know, and get another chance to win. And if you want to really go for it, mention this giveaway over at your blog and get yet another chance. I'll announce the winner next Friday, July 10th.
So come on and enter. It's your patriotic duty...