The United Nations General Assembly established May 15th as the International Day of Families in 1993. The purpose was to celebrate the role of families in society and develop awareness of issues that affect families all around the world. The UN considers the family unit a basic unit of society. For most of us, family is the center of our lives.
John Wooden, a noted basketball coach, said, “The most important thing in the world is family and love.”
What’s Your Family Like?
Families have changed over the years, and here in the U.S., the basic nuclear family (mom, dad, kids) is no longer the typical family. Many families are a blend of several different families, or they are in some way a non-traditional family unit. Who is in your family doesn’t matter as much as how you treat them. Everyone in the family needs to act with love, compassion and respect for each other.
Once you have children in your family, in your care, then family needs to come first. Jobs are important and we need money to pay the bills. Hobbies, interests, and social life make life enjoyable. But children need to be your priority. Your children depend upon you to take care of them, to guide them through their early years, and to help them learn how to handle the struggles of life as they get older. Parents need to provide physical necessities, such as food, shelter, and clothes, but they also need to provide emotional necessities, such as love, understanding, guidance, values, and good role models.
If you have a teen struggling with physical, mental, or emotional health issues, family life may be very stressful for you. Surely, you’ve tried everything you can to help your teen.You may feel like you can’t connect anymore with your child, you don’t know how to talk to him, you don’t seem to have anything in common with her.
Teens may never admit it, but they do notice your efforts and they will appreciate that you tried. Look for some way to spend at least a few quality moments with your teen, in celebration of Family Day. Does your teen have an interest or a hobby that she can teach you about? Will he help you with a project around the house? Maybe you can enjoy your teen’s favorite meal together, or make some popcorn and watch a movie you both like. Tell your teen that family is important to you and you would like her help in choosing an activity for the whole family to enjoy together. Let him know that he is an essential part of your family, even if you don’t always get along.
If your teen is at a therapeutic boarding school, and you aren’t able to visit or call, then take a few minutes on Family Day to write to your teen about how important she is to you and how much you love her. Tell her you look forward to a time when you can be together again as a family. Tell him how relieved you are that he is getting the help that he needs to make his life better. Even if you don’t send the letter now, you can keep it and give it to your teen later, when he comes home.
Spread the Love
International Day of Families falls on a Wednesday this year. That’s the middle of our already hectic week. Still, it’s worthwhile to take a few minutes to appreciate the value of family. Whether it’s your spouse, kids, parents, or close friends that are like family, tell them that you love them and appreciate them. Everyone likes to hear that they are loved and appreciated. It will make their day. So often we think about what we haven’t got, and neglect to be grateful for what we do have. Families are never perfect, but we still love them.