In his book, “Think and Grow Rich,” he talked about something called a “mastermind alliance.” He goes on to describe a mastermind group as, “A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.”
In his book, “Master Key to Riches,” Napoleon Hill says, “Every mind needs friendly contact with other minds, for food of expansion and growth.” To Hill mastermind groups are established to help create an environment that nurtures and supports growth.
Notice how he uses the word “friendly” throughout his discussion of mastermind groups? Hill believed that a harmonious groups of two or more people who come together for a specific purpose, or around a specific topic, bring forth the power of creativity and support that you can’t find when you go it alone. Napoleon Hill feels so strongly about this that he says in Your Magic Power to be Rich, “Maintain perfect harmony between yourself and every member of your master mind group. If you fail to carry out this instruction to the letter, you may expect to meet with failure. The master mind principle cannot obtain where perfect harmony does not prevail.” That’s a strong message about what makes a mastermind group succeed or fail.
In Hill’s book, “The Law of Success,” he adds another element to the idea of a mastermind group: the group helps to organize useful knowledge, creating a virtual encyclopedia from which each member can draw information.
When starting a mastermind group, or joining an existing one, look for these three hallmarks: friendly, growth-oriented, and willing to share information.
This may sound like an oversimplification, but the family that isn’t “working” is the family that isn’t playing together. Playing together is an essential trait of happy, healthy families. Certainly our children need to do their chores, and of course they need discipline with consistency, but what they also need desperately from their parents is a rousing game of hide-and-seek or a monthly Ping-Pong tournament.
A great thing happens to families when they play together: They begin to talk and laugh and lighten up. Family memories are built, inside jokes are shared, and serious moments of intimacy are communicated. Families need special times together to build lifelong memories and to play together.
As most experts will tell you, a family that plays together stays together. But I would add that a family that plays together will also be much more happy and healthy. For many families, play is the missing ingredient that glues the family together. Play can even open closed spirits and heal broken marriages.
We know instinctively that play produces family togetherness and support. We know that when we play together, we have a deeper sense of belonging and community in the family. Parents must proactively work at making a sense of belonging and community one of their key goals for family togetherness.
Playing together as a family may open up the communication lines better than anything else you try, so now is the time to be proactive and create those family fun days and events that provide the catalyst for more effective communication. Do whatever it takes to keep the lines open, even if it means picking up a basketball or going to the park on a regular basis. Playing together and having a good time just may be the safety net you need to make a difference in your child’s life.
Todd Dean is one of my heroes. I’ve known him much of my adult life. He is a talented person with an M.B.A. from Stanford University. At the university, Todd was a gymnast. When I first met him, he was teaching students from my youth group to do a standing backflip. All I could do was think about liability, and yet the kids loved watching him do his incredible flips. He invited me to try a backflip. I made a fool of myself, but he still encouraged me.
Todd married Charlotte. They had two beautiful children, and he had a very high-paying job. Todd’s career was going through the roof. Then tragedy struck: Charlotte died of a brain tumor. Before Charlotte died, Todd had told me he wanted to coach his children’s little league and soccer teams. Because Todd’s career would soon include travel, he had to make some difficult decisions about his career. Todd was making good money, but it wasn’t as important as playing catch with his son or rollerblading with his daughter.
Todd made the decision to quit his high-paying job and become a professor, so he could play more with his kids and coach those teams. His annual salary was cut to what was once his annual expense account. His lifestyle had to change. He doesn’t live in as large a house as he once did, and his car isn’t the same model as some of his Stanford M.B.A. friends; but he is happily coaching his children’s teams. He is now married to a lovely woman named Becky who suffered a similar loss. They have four happy, content, and well-adjusted children who play and interact daily with their dad and mom–who have sacrificed financially to help their family thrive. The benefits of playing together are far more valuable than a big paycheck.
These days, we all live with stresses of a fast-paced life. Playing together is one area of our busy lives that we can pretty easily choose to cut out – in order to make the other areas of our lives easier to manage. Yet, I challenge you: Don’t cut back on playing together. This is one simple area of life that can yield incredible benefits for you and your family.
Seven Reasons Why It’s Important
1) Keeps Kids Out of Trouble
Kids who live in families that eat dinner together regularly are less likely to be involved in at risk behaviors. According to the 2000 study done by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), children who don’t eat dinner with their families are 61 percent more likely to use alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs. By contrast, children who eat dinner with their families every night of the week are 20 percent less likely to drink, smoke, or use illegal drugs.
2) It’s Bonding Time
Families who eat dinner together regularly are more likely to have stronger, happier family relationships. As families struggle to find amounts of quantity and quality time together, family dinnertime provides the opportunity for both. When families hang out together and communicate, they grow strong and healthy.
3) Offers Stability
Families who eat dinner regularly develop a stronger family identity. Eating together serves to build a family identity. Additionally, this family “routine” provides a sense of stability and security that provides kids with a positive environment where they can grow into healthy adults.
4) Time for Family Updates
Families who eat dinner together regularly can keep in touch with each others’ lives. Everyone – kids and parents alike – can keep up-to-date during your family dinnertime on what is going on with school, jobs, family life, and friends.
5) Chance to Resolve Conflicts
A regular family dinnertime provides natural opportunities for planning and problem solving. Scheduling family meeting times to discuss planning, needs and problem solving can be difficult. A regular family mealtime can offer a natural solution to the challenge.
6) Educates Your Kids
Eating dinner regularly fosters learning. When families who eat dinner together engage in a variety of conversation topics, learning is encouraged. Kids who are exposed to regular family discussion times learn a broader vocabulary.
7) Healthy for the Whole Family
Kids are likely to receive better nutrition when eating dinner regularly with their families. A simple, but true rule applies: when kids eat with their families, they eat better. A family dinnertime means kids are more likely to eat a nutritionally balanced meal, lower in sugar and fat content, than if they prepare or purchase meals on their own.