The warm days of summer have finally arrived and the celebration of our Nation’s Independence is a great summer tradition for many families. Next week our extended family is gathering to celebrate my father’s upcoming 90th birthday with the local parade, picnic, storytelling and catching up with family that I haven’t seen in several years. Why is spending time together important? I could make a list of reasons why I feel family time is important, and I hope so could you. Here are some reasons stated by the Relationships Foundation that may reinforce our thoughts. (www.relationshipsfoundation.org)
*Spending time together is when we really get to know one another. We learn how to listen and share our thoughts and feelings with each other that allows us to use those skills as we make friends and eventually on dates.
*Time together can be fun and educational. For young children, much of their basic learning takes place in the many informal situations that we do on a daily basis. Mealtime, bedtime, getting dressed, going shopping, dealing with problems, making choices, etc. all provide opportunities for learning.
*Children need to know that they are loved, unconditionally. This means loving them no matter how they act, what they win or don’t win, or when they have a “bad” day. It means that even though we don’t approve of the behavior, we still love and accept the child for the gift they are.
*By living in a family, children learn to share, how to stand up for their own rights and learn how to love others.
* Children learn about values and morals from our families. They learn what is important to us, and how to be honest, reliable, accountable and loving because of how they see the family in action.
*As young adults it’s a time to gain understanding from the stories about how living used to be, and to really understand “where you come from”.
*Who do we look like, laugh like or enjoy being around because of their personality?
*Who is the family storyteller? Usually someone in the family is the historian as well as the entertainer with stories of bygone days.
*Family rituals and traditions may change, but we may find that though we live miles apart we do things very similarly because of the family values that we grew up with.
* When we enjoy spending time together in the good times, and when tough times arrive, it’s much easier with loved ones’ support.
* Having the discussion about what our family values are and the reasons behind the 4th of July, President’s Day/ Veteran’s Day give us the opportunities to talk and explain why we celebrate, it’s not just any other day, but a day dedicated so that we don’t forget. If children learn to love and appreciate their country through thoughtful activities, they will be more likely to become responsible, active citizens in their community, nation and the world. Who in the family are veterans? It is a great time to learn more history of both our country and our family.
Sometime this week talk with your family about what they enjoy most about the summer and what things you want to do before school begins again. Maybe it’s not just things they want to do but important people in their lives they want to spend more time with? Even for those of us without children, it’s still a time to take a break and enjoy the sights and sounds that are only available during these warm months. Happy 4th of July everyone!!
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.
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