By Rev. Leland Stewart
Once again in our full calendar year, there is no special day for family, as important as family is to the success of our civilization as a whole. Carle Zimmerman, one of the most outstanding family sociologists of the recent past, author of Family and Civilization, said that there is an important parallel between the success of the family and the success of the civilization as a whole.
It is interesting that we have a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day but no Family Day. Is it any wonder that families are having such a struggle staying together and supporting the children they bring into the world? We have yet to fully comprehend the importance of the family, and that mothers, fathers, and children are all part of the family unit. We also do not have an official Children’s Day either, even though some religious groups have taken on that task.
If we take on two out of three parts of a unit, namely the family, and do not look at the unit as a total entity, we fail to give the proper recognition to the family unit as a whole. For many years now I have spoken out on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day about the family and its importance as a unit. I am waiting, but not so patiently, for the establishment of Family Day as a separate day in our yearly calendar. How long must we wait for Family Day to be established?
If we had a Family Day, we really would not need to have a separate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, because they would be included in Family Day. Then we could give time within Family Day to fathers, mothers, and children. Granted that there are many different types of families, but many of the same rules apply. We need to show respect for each other, to listen to each other, and to provide occasions when as many as possible of the family get together during the year. If that is not possible person-to-person, then it can be arranged by phone or skype.
If families are working well, there will usually be time that can be devoted to community, nation, and world. If families are not working well, then most or all of the time available will need to be devoted to struggling to maintain the family or to suffer from its loss. Today’s families have a rather small percentage of success, so they deserve our attention and our help to be maintained. If a family is not working well, then the best solution may be to dissolve that family and perhaps create one that does work better.
Let’s give some time during this year and until our next Mother’s and Father’s Day to emphasizing the family and its importance. One way to do that would be to have a meal together that included all available family members. Or perhaps the family could go on a trip together or watch a movie together. There are many ways in which a family can show its solidarity. A good friend of mine has a son who married an Israeli woman, and they now are living in Israel and have two sons. My friend has established a project that encourages him to go to Israel periodically, and it turns out that his son is involved in the project.
Let us celebrate this Father’s Day with the wide vision of the family as a whole. What are we doing to help sustain our family? What could we be doing that would be helpful in that direction?
May peace prevail on earth!!!