We commonly hear the most important unit of society is the family. This fact is so basic for many that it sometimes gets stated without anyone needing to ask how important families are. That being the case, you might naturally conclude that the idea of families, with all its importance and influence, should be recognized and even celebrated once a year. This May 15, we have the chance to do just that as we celebrate families with International Family Day.
A happy fact too many are not aware of is in 1993, the United Nations created an International Day of Families in May for just that purpose. According to the UN Website, the General Assembly established this special family day to help “promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic, and demographic processes affecting families.”
Why an International Family Day?
Families come in many sizes, and everyone has a unique experience with their own family. Whatever your family looks like, and whatever your circumstances may be, siblings, parents, grandparents, and other family members can have a great impact on each other. Beyond that, each family unit also has a significant impact on the community around them. Many organizations feel that the family is an important concept to recognize and celebrate.
The United Nations has actually been studying family dynamics since at least the 1980s. The year 1989 was labeled “The International Year of the Family" in honor of their continued research, which is still ongoing. In 1993, May 15 was chosen for the official, yearly observance. In 2015, the UN adopted several goals to try to stop poverty, discrimination and other societal ills through highlighting the value of families. The International Family Theme for the year of 2022 , "Families and Urbanization," promotes the idea that, through families, healthy urban policies can be created.
How Can We Celebrate Families?
Think of some of the exciting ways to celebrate all things family. It doesn’t have to be hard, complicated, or elaborate. Sometimes the best family memories are made in simple moments. Here are a few ideas:
A simple family dinner (without phones or technology devices) with great conversation can create great memories. You can have some organized questions to get the conversation started or go around the table and share favorite things. Another idea to go along with a family dinner would be to plan and cook the dinner together. Maybe you can use an old family recipe passed down for generations.
Tell some family stories and even record them with the FamilySearch memories app. There is a record button within the app where you can share stories or answer questions that the app generates. Another fun idea is to look at family photos and tell the stories about them while recording on the app. This doesn’t take long but generates laughs and good feelings.
A Family Garden
Plant a garden! Nothing brings the family together better than a little bit of work in the dirt. You can decide together what fruits and veggies sound good, get your beds ready, and plant. Fun can be had with dirt and a bit of water, and it is an ongoing family activity for the rest of the summer and fall. Plus, enjoying the fruits of your labors in September and October is a great reward!
Discover Some Facts
Check out FamilySearch’s family discovery activities. Learn about famous relatives, discover facts about the day you were born, compare your face to your ancestors, or participate in a whole host of other activities. Time will fly just by getting lost in these fun family activities.
A Brief Excursion
Take a hike or drive. Capturing your family in the car is also a great way to bond. A day trip or even planning a road trip can be a way to cultivate relationships. Watch for things you haven’t seen before, or play a few car games to pass the time together. A hike along with the ride can be rejuvenating. Any outdoor activity is a great way to celebrate family and the beauties around us.
Write about Each Other
Write your own family story. Put pen to paper and write a bit about each member of your family together. Share some of your favorite activities, vacations, or special events. Share it on social media, or even create a family video that can be cherished by future generations.
Find Friends Who Are Family
Discover unknown family members. If you don’t have any close family near you on International Family Day, see how you are related to your friends and neighbors! Use a free program called Relatives Around Me to see how you are related to others around you. (To do this, all parties need to have downloaded the Family Tree app and selected “Relatives Around Me” from the app menu.)
Family Is Reason to Celebrate!
However you choose to celebrate International Family Day, it will be a wonderful memory. Whatever the shape or size of your family—it is worth celebrating and remembering.