How to Deal With Your Family Over the Holidays

For many people, holidays are incredibly stressful. Even leaving aside issues related to family history and dynamics, when people who happen to be related but don't have much in common get together there can be multiple points of contention, including food, politics, and religion. Here are some tips for coping. 1) Educate Yourself (or Refresh Your Education) in Effective Communication. My favorite communications primer is actually a classic parenting book, “How to Talk so Kids Listen and Listen so Kids Talk,” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. It’s a quick read with fun cartoons, and I recommend it to everyone regardless of whether they have kids. You can use its tips and techniques for getting along with, and resolving conflicts with, everyone, including adult family members, friends, and coworkers. This New York Times article on resolving family conflict is also excellent. It turns out that there’s a whole host of simple things you can do to defuse conflict, like sitting down or stepping … [Read more...]

Terre Roche: Happiness Comes From Focusing on the Song, Not the Success

  Terre Roche and her sisters were substantially more than a flash in the rock ‘n roll pan in the late 1970’s. Their debut album, The Roches, was number one on the New York Times list for the year 1979. But as she describes in this moving article, massive critical acclaim does not always translate into vast wealth. The band of sisters parted ways with their high-powered manager without ever delivering the commercial triumph he wanted. Now in her sixties, Terre has long since come to terms with that chapter of her life, and has grown in her art. Now the music is for the music, and she is excited about the quality of her new song, Maxwell. (You’ll find a link to the song in the article.) “Maxwell is complete. It’s not a hit song. It’s probably not going to make any money. I’d rather listen to it, as if it were a teacher. I have friends whose songs have made lots of money. I envy them. But personally, I’ve given up on the idea of writing a commercial song. And when I did that, I entered into a … [Read more...]