Today is Family Day–A Civic Holiday to Reflect and Celebrate.
In many Canadian provinces and territories today is Family Day. This is a relatively new holiday and there are no rules or traditions.
It’s simply a day when you take a step back from normal life (lol… what is normal these days anyway?) and concentrate on family.
Not every province or territory in Canada calls it “Family Day”, but the idea is catching on and more are signing on to the third Tuesday in February as being a statutory holiday where family, pioneers, and history are the focal point.
A Time of Mourning and Healing for Indigenous families.
I would imagine that the truths recently discovered by the general population (and the world) about the residential schools, will impact many within the Indigenous communities along with their sense of remembering and celebrating family.
To finally have the acknowledgement that families were shattered and traumatized, is a heartbreaking new reality for many in the general public. So many individuals, families, and communities lived with, and experienced, this unspeakable trauma for decades.
May the reflection and concentration on the importance of family finally bring us closer in understanding and empathizing the reality.
I hope with the truth glaring at each of us in the recognition of what was foisted upon so many families, we can take the time to truly understand the pain within those indigenous communities.
All you have to do is look at your own family and imagine…what if? What it?
How Do You Define Family?
I’m all for family, in fact I believe family is the backbone of society. Heck, I’m Auntie. I consider myself very fortunate to be blessed with such a stunning family… and then of course I also married into a wonderful family who embraced me and made me part of their family too.
It reflects not only its beliefs and customs, but also its strength and perseverance to move forward, especially in times of adversity.
Let’s Look at Defining “Family”
1.(a) a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not: the traditional family.
(b) a social unit consisting of one or more adults together with the children they care for.
2. the children of one person or one couple collectively
3. the spouse and children of one person
4. any group of people closely related by blood or marriage, as parents, children, uncles, aunts, and cousins.Dictionary.com
This is a really generic definition isn’t it?
The wonderful thing about life is that it is full of choice and change.
The above definition of “family” feels very sterile to me. It’s a safe definition, if you know what I mean.
In our world, there are so many who are marginalized and ostracized to the point of aloneness. Is that fair? Is there anyone who doesn’t deserve family?
That may be a bit of a loaded question as we can look through history at murderers, psychopaths, and dictators who were interesting characters for sure. The thing is that as we grow in our knowledge of the world and self, I’d hope that choice can still be exercised.
I’m sure I wouldn’t have liked to have had a mass murderer as an uncle… yeah, I’m sure that would suck.
What Does Family Look Like for you?
For me, family should be a place of comfort and safety.
To me family and home are synonymous–they go together like a nap and a blankie or bubbles with the bath. This is true for many, but unfortunately for some, family is a thing of great anxiety and dread.
It’s for this reason I believe that the narrow dictionary of “family” needs to be expanded.
It’s not only about genetics or a place of residence, it’s about a sense of humanity and compassion. It’s about looking out for each other and welcoming a stranger into the fold—dare I say into the family?
I grew up one of eight kids, so at one point there were ten of us in the house (one bathroom, I might add) and that was my reality. I knew nothing different.
The extended family, though distant in miles, were always a part of our world and that never changed.
What did change, for me anyway, was the realization that not everyone had a warm bed to sleep in at night, and some faced violence in their homes, or the outright rejection of a child by his family because of their sexual orientation, political leanings, or social convictions.
Now, we add the historical reality of children being torn from their families and sent to be reprogrammed to wipe out their family ties.
I believe the discovery of such truths had a tremendous impact on who I became in the world. I believe in inclusiveness and acceptance. Diversity is the world. Diversity is family.
Family isn’t just the nuclear mother, father, son, and daughter anymore. No, it is slowly being redefined by the needs and realities of society.
Types of Families
- Married Couple
- Common Law Couple
- Same Sex Couple–Married or Unmarried
- Couple with children–Married or Unmarried
- Couple with adopted children–Married or Unmarried
- Single Parent Family–Adopted Children, Step, or Natural
- Step Families–Through Marriage
- Extended Families–Grandparents/Aunties/Uncles/Cousins
- Distance Families–Connected but Living Separate
- You and your fur baby.
- Come in.. Be safe.. Connection.. Love.. Nurture.. Inclusivity
Are there any more? Did I miss any? List them below in comments if you want to add another.
Look around and see what family means to you and how you would define it.
What does mean it to others who are different from you. Where are the margins? Could you accept someone into your family that you didn’t quite jive with? or seriously disliked? Would you have a choice?
There’s no right or wrong answers. It’s just about awareness of the diversity in our world, in our community, and yes, even within our own families.
Family doesn’t necessarily mean a blood relation. It could refer to your Church Family, your Community Family, or Traditional Family… define it for yourself as a place where you’re safe, accepted, and loved.
Happy Family Day everyone…no matter what your family “looks” like–gay, straight, religious-or not, old, young, single parent, same sex parents…whatever… embrace it and be Family. Don’t judge others because of your own beliefs… just be kind.
(Picture Sources: top: Scopio Brooke Terry; 2: family of 5 Unsplash:Jessica Rockowitz 3: Family dinner: Unsplash Jimmy Dean 4. Father and son: Unsplash: Nathan Anderson 5: Getting married: Unsplash:Nauci Pereira)
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