Positive Family Dynamics: Appreciative Inquiry Questions to Bring Out the Best in Families
by Dawn Cooperrider Dole, Jen Hetzel Silbert, Ada Jo Mann and Diana Whitney
Taos Institute Publications, 2008
Price: $20.00 US plus shipping and handling
Paperback, 120 pages
Positive Family Dynamics is a wonderful resource for parents and family members who want to bring out the best in their families! It is an Encyclopedia of Positive Questions. The questions, stories and activities in this book will help you create relationships within your family which will nurture respect, love, and care. The book's imaginative questions, exercises, and positive spirit create a simple yet powerful method for helping families discover hidden reserves of strength and inspired opportunities for better living. They also provide powerful tools for helping all families become increasingly more appreciative, collaborative and effective in creating and shaping the futures they desire for themselves and their communities. This book contains 56 appreciative questions designed to increase learning, listening and positive dynamics within your family. Positive Family Dynamics is recommended for all family members — grandparents, parents, children, and beyond.
“This remarkable volume is a kind of applied poetics for the family. The book's imaginative questions, exercises, and positive spirit creates a simple yet powerful method for helping families discover hidden reserves of strength and inspired opportunities for better living. As parents we know what it means to purposefully practice appreciation, gratitude, wonder, and search for the best in the other—seeking to re-create with children and each other, the same kind of enchantment one feels when witnessing a beautiful sunrise or the peak of a snowcapped mountain. But obviously it is not always that easy, that is, experiencing the enchantment of everyday life in the midst of the daily pressures, the laundry, and every kind of family dynamic imaginable. That's why this book is so important. It's a vital reminder: family life is a miracle and mystery. It's a precious gift. And it requires dedicated and positive tools, exactly the kind this book provides. Appreciative Inquiry, while applied all over the world in business and organizations, may have just found its most important home with this invitation to flourishing families!” – Nancy and David Cooperrider, David is Founder of Appreciative Inquiry, Professor Fairmount Minerals Professor and Chair of the Center Business as an Agent of World Benefit at Case Western Reserve University, and Nancy is artist, educator, and mother of three.
“Positive Family Dynamics offers an abundance of resources to help navigate the diverse waters of family life. In fact, this book is about more than families; it is about living in relation with others and about doing so from a stance of graceful potential. Our lives can be complex and confusing, and they are not always filled with ease and joy. Positive Family Dynamics helps put the challenges we face in context. More than that, it gives us generative resources for moving beyond conflict and difficulties, as well as generative resources for creating sustainable futures together. This book is a real gem!”
— Sheila McNamee, Taos Institute founder and board member,
Professor of Communications, University of New Hampshire
“Positive Family Dynamics is a veritable treasure trove of possibility for families at every stage in the family life-cycle. It supports wholeness, happiness, and hope by offering an expansive array of appreciative questions that cover dozens of family situations, from challenging to celebratory. The book is a potent primer in the power of the positive question to transform families and is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to increase positive interaction in intergenerational relationships.”
— Jim and Beverlee Ludema, Jim is Professor in the PhD Program in Organization Development and Director of the Center for Values-Driven Leadership at Benedictine University and Bev is a Clinical Psychologist
“Over the past several years we have experimented with Appreciative Inquiry in our retreats for couples and with the families of some of those couples. We are convinced that AI is a perspective and process that will support and make richer all relationships. This book gives great entries to begin conversations. Importantly, Positive Family Dynamics can serve as a tool to help us learn to change the patterns we often set with members of our families, and with others significant in our lives. Developing the art of asking positive questions is a way to change the way we relate to others, to ourselves, and perhaps, even to begin a revolution in change for our world.”
— Jane Magruder Watkins and Ralph Kelly, Appreciative Inquiry Unlimited. Jane is an AI consultant and Taos Institute board member. Ralph is an ordained minister and AI consultant
“The authors of Positive Family Dynamics highlight through scores of examples the unlimited power of good questions to bring out the best in our family lives. This book is an invaluable resource for those searching for ideas to enliven and enrich their family conversations.”
— Dan Wulff and Sally St. George,
Associate Professors, Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary,
and both are Taos Institute board members.
“Our ‘children’ are now adults, and yet, we find appreciative questions remain essential for our family. They have even helped our grandchildren make a vital contribution to our family gatherings. As we learn more about their lives, and what they value, so do they learn more about us. The generation gaps are erased. We now hope the youngest generations will take this invaluable practice into their future families.”
— Mary and Ken Gergen, Mary is Professor of Psychology at Penn State University, founder and board member of the Taos Institute. Ken is Professor of Psychology at Swarthmore College, founder and board member of the Taos Institute
“Mix four great women with topics (Families and Appreciative Inquiry) on which they are true experts and about which they carry an enormous passion, and you get a fantastic book. In Positive Family Dynamics, Dawn, Jen, Ada Jo and Diana show what good is possible within our family relations when we open our appreciative eyes, mind and above all our appreciative heart. The unconditional positive way in which they approach the normal day-to-day, the painful and challenging and sometimes difficult situations in our families brings new, inspired hope into our family lives and as such to our societies. By touching the core of our existence, our families, they also add a new dimension to the use of Appreciative Inquiry. By their unconditional positive questions, they bring the story telling in our families to a new, touching and inspiring level. I believe this book is a must for everyone that feels a need to (re-)discover the positive power of our primary support system, our Families.”
— Joep C. de Jong, Director BT Learning
Solutions and Chairman of the Board of JLS International
“Creating positive family dynamics is not about having all the answers to life for your children; it is simply knowing what kinds of positive questions to ask to create uplifting and life-giving conversations with your family members! Dawn, Jen, Ada Jo and Diana have done a superb job bringing together rich questions to ignite meaningful conversations each and every day with our family members. This book makes a wonderful addition to your family to help bring out the best in your family!”
— Jackie Stavros, co-author of Dynamic Relationship
Associate Professor, Graduate College of Management, Lawrence Technological University
“This book will take your family experience to new heights, as you learn to use questions to discover and appreciate what is best in those relationships. It’s a wonderful read for all, and a must read for parents.”
— Jackie Kelm,
Author of Appreciative Living: The Principles of Appreciative Inquiry in Personal Life
“What a wonderful resource for parents wanting to bring out the best in their families! The ideas, activities and practices so clearly presented in this book provide powerful tools for helping all families become increasingly more appreciative, collaborative and effective in creating and shaping the futures they desire for themselves and their communities. As professionals who have worked intensively with families for over 40 years, we strongly recommend this book to all family members — grandparents, parents and children. We can all be empowered by the energy, understanding and hope that will be released by the practices described in this book and the outcomes that then will be generated.”
— Dr. Robert Cottor and Sharon Cottor,
Taos Board Member, Taos Associate and Family Therapists in private practice
"If everyone were to practice and use the information in Positive Family Dynamics, our world would first heal and then transform. There are practical and thoughtful questions and activities in this book which I will use in our school and encourage the families I work with to use as well. Anyone who works with children or helps people navigate their relationships in an effort to improve their lives will find in this book a treasure trove of ideas and insights. I could not put the book down and found myself eager to try out the activities on my own family. Extremely comprehensive, this book covers every important aspect of families and primary relationships in a simple way that everyone can grasp and use."
— Jenifer Fox, author of Your Child's Strengths
“Positive Family Dynamics is a helpful, hopeful guide to flourishing family life. It is very useful as both a resource and a workbook.”
— Marjorie Schiller , Ph.D.
President, Positive Change Core
“I just dove into the book and THIS IS FANTASTIC! How can we get this book to moms and dads at the hospital? This is like the first ‘loving instruction manual’ I've ever seen ‘on how to raise kids’! Deep knee bend to all of you for putting this together. YES!”
— Leslie Sekerka, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Organizational Behavior Director,
Ethics in Action Research and Education Center, Menlo College
"Thank you so much for the wonderful and thoughtful new book. I love the kind of open-ended, encouraging, hopeful questions you suggest. They have a way of stimulating imagination and memory, and of opening families to dimensions of their lives that might never get explored. Well done!"
— Rev. Hamilton Throckmorton, Federated Church, Chagrin Falls, Ohio