July Is National Family Reunion Month
Biblical Counseling for Today’s Christian Family
What relationship is most important to us? In a study by the Barna Group (Americans Identify Their Most Important Relationships, Barna Update 3/17/08) when it came to relationships, the report found that family relationships were identified as their most important personal relationship. It is clear that adults are most focused on their family as:
– 7 out of 10 adults mentioned family or family members as their most significant connection;
– 1/3 said their entire nuclear family is tops;
– 22% named their spouse;
– 17% identified their children; and
An additional 3% mentioned their parents as their key relationship.
July is recognized as National Family Reunion Month. We will use this column to join church and social organizations across America in promoting family. Alex Haley once said: “In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.” A Family Reunion is defined as an occasion when many members of an extended family get together. Often the reunions are held yearly around the same time, however, the place of the reunion may vary. Summer months are usually the best time for family reunions because school is out. A typical family reunion will assemble the survivors of grandparents, great-grandparents and up for meals, recreation, games, and discussion.
According to an article at USAToday.com, family reunions are important as they: (1) offer opportunities for family members to connect with one another; and (2) provide each person the opportunity to share memories. Family reunions also help preserve favorite recipes, build family unity and, most importantly, builds strong, lasting bonds and relationships that will endure for generations, which forms that bridge to the future. Given a chance, family reunions and celebrations can provide family members with important values, and a deep sense of belonging that they can pass on to their children and their grandchildren.
If you are planning a family reunion, encourage and include storytelling to help members get to know one another. These stories are especially enjoyable for children who may hear stories they have never heard before about family members. However, it is important to tell respectful stories that promote relationships as not all stories are appropriate. Storytelling also gives families a chance to share the goodness and grace of God displayed over the years. The psalmist wrote: “We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done” (Psalm 78:4).
July is also a fitting time for the church to promote family. While the family is the basic human community through which persons are nurtured and sustained in mutual love, responsibility, respect, and fidelity; families are still in need of guidance and support to achieve a better quality of life in a physical, emotional, and spiritual sense. The church can help with creating a climate in the congregation for family ministry. This involves raising the congregation’s awareness of family ministry, gaining an understanding of ministry with families and organizing a team to coordinate family ministry. The church can also respond by providing resources, leadership, and by being an advocate for the needs of families. These needs may be needs of the family unit as well as needs of individual members of the family (i.e. children, youth, teens, and adults). The bottom line is the family is important to us because it is important to God. As the church promotes the family, they are also assisting in protecting family life. By the way, enjoy your family reunion.
The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in these articles, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. Rather, the objective is strictly informative and educational. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o Fellowship of Love M.B.C. at P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.