Commentary – Strong families – strong communities

Richard Froese

The first month of 2023 is already behind us and time to flip the page on the calendar.
My, where does the time go?
The weather will soon get warmer as the first day of spring arrives March 20.
However, that depends on the many famous critters who predict the weather on Groundhog Day – Feb. 2. If the groundhog sees its shadow, expect six more weeks of winter.
But if the weather is cloudy, spring will arrive early, so the legend predicts.
Despite the cold days of winter, February is a month that has two important days that will warm people’s hearts. Valentine’s Day is celebrated on Feb. 14, one week before Family Day in Alberta on Feb. 20.
Both those special days were designed to bring people together to celebrate and honour their loved ones, family, friendships and community.
Spend time with those around you and express your love to them.
For the first time since February 2020, people and communities may gather to celebrate after COVID-19 restrictions started in March 2020 and dropped on March 1, 2022.
Family Day events are being planned in communities all over the regions around Peace River, Falher and McLennan, High Prairie and Slave Lake.
Take time to spend a day at a Family Day event in your local community or region.
Family is the foundation of society and communities. Strong and healthy families make strong and healthy communities and society.
It is important to build and strengthen families and other relationships, and it can be done in many fun and practical ways.
Even in disputes and differences of opinion and views, we can still show love and respect to others when done in healthy and positive ways.
I learned several steps to take to build relationships in a workshop Building Better Community in my church in High Prairie. The leader guided the workshop based on a book Building Better Communities – 12 Exercises to Strengthen Your Relational Muscles written by Tom Anthony.
A great place is to practise and use the exercises at home with your spouse, children and others in your family.
Here are some of the basic and useful steps.

  • Create Appreciation:
    Build relational joy.
    When you are present in person with other people, tell each person individually, “I’m so happy to be with you,” starting by stating their name.
    Saying the other person’s name to them makes them feel special, valued and loved. That statement and a smile can go a long way to build love and respect.
  • Practise Gratitude:
    At the end of each day, take time to be thankful.
    Writing it down is a great way to remember it over time.
    Share your thanks with family, friends and even in a small group is better.
    “Thank you, God, for. . .” Be specific.
    For those not of the faith, simply say, “I’m thankful for . . .”
    Name at least five things that made your day happy.
    Focus your mind more on blessings, not problems.
  • Think of Joy Memories:
    Think of moments in the day or past week where you experienced laughter or comfort or smiles or joy with others.
    Focus your mind on memories that bring joy, not on worry, anxiety or sadness.
    *Pursue Harmony:
    Connect emotionally; expressing and sharing emotion is essential.
  • Move from Anger to Relational Joy:
    Respond in a healthy way when you are angry with others. The other person is more important than the problem.
    Shift your focus to a joyful connection and the relationship.
    Practising any or some of those action steps is bound to bring more joy in your life and in the lives of others and grow your love and respect to those around you.

Share this post