In Celebration of International Families Day
In our ultra independent, competitive era, we oftentimes overlook the age-old importance of the family connection. We’re so busy in our quest to conquer the world, chartering our own ships, that we forget to acknowledge the crew who supported us along the way.
But no matter how far you sail, or how many oceans you cross, you invariably learn and relearn that blood is and always will be thicker than water.
And today more than ever, its crucial for us to reconnect to and respect our family structures.
The United Nations recognizes families as the basic unit of societies and in celebration of this, May 15th each year is observed as the International Day of Families. It was officially formed in 1994 as response to the drastically changing economic and social structures that continue to affect the structure of family units across the world.
The International Day of Families provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting them. – United Nations
15 May is our opportunity to raise awareness on issues affecting families worldwide. This can be done through a variety of means – workshops, conferences, radio and TV programs, articles and cultural shows all pertaining to that year’s particular theme.
In South Africa past campaigns have centred around issues such as poverty, HIV Aids, child welfare, education, employment etc.
How Can We Create Family Connectedness?
We’ve all heard that charity begins at home, so in lieu of this year’s International Families Day, how can we build (or rebuild) a stronger connection with our own family? See some simple ideas below.
- Respect the differing roles that we each play within the family dynamic, recognising first and foremost our individuality as people. Allow each of your family members the dignified space to grow and change. If your child didn’t follow the path you set for them, don’t despair but rather support them in their independent pursuits. If you and your siblings no longer see eye-to-eye, agree to disagree and build bonds on other shared interests and views instead.
- If you are all living together, take time for each other. Truly listen when a family member is talking to you, switch off the TV, put the phone away and give them the gift of your full attention. Every night be sure to eat dinner as a family around the table, nothing brings people together more than the ritual of breaking bread together.
- If you and your family members are spread across the globe or even the country, create a family Whatsapp group to stay in touch. Share photos and videos, inside jokes and the latest news to keep everyone together and up-to-date.
- Band together to support a cause you care about. Donate your money or time to one of the following organisations doing amazing work for families less fortunate than your own in South Africa: Focus on The Family, Homestart, South African Family Relief Project among many, many more worthy causes.
- Create your own fun and collaborative peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Get your family and friends together for an energetic and creative day of fund raising for your favourite NPO. Host a colour run, a potluck picnic, a charity gala or dress up dinner, or even organise a hike through a national park and ask attendants for monetary contributions.
Looking for more fun ways to connect as a family? Sign up as volunteer to the Brownie Points site and choose from many awesome opportunities to give back together.