Family is the foundation and bedrock of human civilization. What affects the family has a trickling effect on society and the reverse is true, be negative or positive. Given the importance of family, the United Nations saw the need to put focus on highlighting and bringing about awareness on issues affecting families and championing family focus in policy development. As such, the international day of the family was enacted by the General Assembly on May 15th, 1993 and celebrated the following year. Each year a different family-focused theme is selected.
This year’s theme put forward by the United Nations is “Families and Urbanization”. The theme seeks to raise awareness on the importance of sustainable family friendly and family oriented urban policies. Urbanization is one of the most important megatrends shaping our world and the life and wellbeing of families worldwide.
Culturally on Sint Maarten it has been the norm for every succeeding generation to take care of the other, however given our spate of development and the absence family focus policy development and decision making there is an urgent need for safe and affordable housing, green spaces and play grounds for families and their children to spend time in the outdoors, social care, protection and support for the elderly just to name a few.
There is also a need for open and honest discussions as it relates to family life on Sint Maarten, the effects of COVID-19 (economic, psychological and physical) on the family, work & family balance, working hours for parents, and the list goes on.
As we celebrate and highlight family day 2022 it is also incumbent on us as Community Development, Family & Humanitarian Affairs in advocating for families to share some tips and encourage families to, find meaningful ways to spend time with each other.
As a family:
1. Have a disconnect day – disconnect from devices, television, and social media and spend quality time together
2. Go out in nature – explore your surroundings, community, and island. There is so much to see and do on our beautiful island and you don’t always need to have money.
3. Play games as a family – this helps with negotiation skills, tolerance, patience, learning that there is a winner & a looser
4. Share positive words with each other such as “you are a blessing” “you mean so much to this family”
5. Do physical activities together
6. Connect with your older & other family members by visiting them – helps our children know who they are related to
7. Prepare & share a meal together – research shows a family meal time has great benefits. For instance it is a time to bond, share experiences, learn about each other. Just to mention a few.
8. Read as a family
9. Share family photos and stories, a fantastic way for children to learn about their family (ancestry)
This list is non-exhausted, there are many more things I am sure you can think of to do with your family. Life has become very difficult and hectic for us all we often complain there isn’t enough hours in the day. Nevertheless, just setting aside one day in the week to spend quality time with our love one goes a long way. With that, on behalf half of Community Development, Family and Humanitarian Affairs Happy Family Day.