Founded by the United Nations (UN) in 1994, the International Day of Families is observed every May 15 to honor the importance of families. Families—both traditional and non-traditional—are the foundation of society. Our most formative years are spent with our families and those people are likely the most important people in our lives, so they should be celebrated. Let’s spend time today finding ways to protect the family unit in society by starting at home with our own!
According to the United Nations, the theme for the 2021 observance of the International Day of Families is “Socially just transition towards sustainable development: the role of digital technologies on social development and well-being of all.”
“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” – Michael J. Fox
The family unit began with the first humans. While families today may look different than they did thousands of years ago, they are as equally important now as they were then. The United Nations believed families important enough to recognize them through a day of observance and, in 1994, chose May 15 as International Day of Families.
As parents, we want to give our children the best start in life we can. The foundation created in a family has been shown in numerous studies to dramatically impact a child’s success. The more stable the family environment for a child, the more likely they will be healthier – both mentally and physically.
Communities all over the world face obstacles that jeopardize the stability of the family. The UN began to recognize this in the 1980s as the Secretary General promoted awareness among decision-makers and the public. The UN went on to establish this day of observance and, each year, select a different family-focused theme to address world-wide challenges around education, poverty, health, and work/family balance, just to name a few.
This year on World Family Day, learn about some of the social, economic, and demographic factors impacting families around the world and see how you can start by strengthening your own.
INTERNATIONAL FAMILY DAY TIMELINE
Confucius Family Tree
The family tree of Confucius, a Chinese philosopher born in 479 B.C., has been maintained for over 2,500 years.
The 1890 US Census data is destroyed in a fire in 1921.
Care for the Family Launches
In the UK, Rob Parsons founds Care for the Family, a non-profit organization strengthening families through marriage counseling and tools, positive parenting courses, and bereavement support.
The largest for-profit genealogy company helps over 14 million subscribers access documents to find their family history.
TRADITIONS FOR INTERNATIONAL FAMILY DAY
On International Day of Families, celebrate all the eccentric traditions that you and your family share. Every family is unique, and there are countless stories, memories, and adventures we all have shared with our families that are significant only to us. Just like Festivus was a tradition at George Costanza’s home in “Seinfeld,” the traditions carried on within families are all relived today.
It is also very easy to take our family for granted, so take this day as an opportunity to share with your family how you feel about them and how grateful you are to your parents, siblings, and even extended family for providing you with the necessities of life and a whole lot of TLC. Pick a restaurant your family loves or, better yet, one that you all went to while you were growing up, and have a nice evening chattering with your family and catching up on each other’s lives.
INTERNATIONAL FAMILY DAY BY THE NUMBERS
1 in 5 – the number of fathers who are now the primary caregiver of preschool-age children.
7% – the percentage of families with children that have a single father.
1.9 – the average number of children an American woman is expected to have.
33% – the percentage of free time siblings have spent together by the time they reach the age of 11 years old.
65% – the percentage of mothers who claim to have a favorite child — typically the oldest one.
70% – the percentage of fathers who claim to have a favorite child.
390 – the number of families who participated in a research study that found younger siblings are more rebellious and aggressive than older siblings.
66% – the percentage of adolescents aged 12–17 who live with both parents.
7% – the percentage of children under 18 who lived in a grandparent’s home in 2017.
82% – the percentage of children who say they value their parents’ opinion over their friends when it comes to making serious decisions.