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Today (May 15) is the International Family Day, NNNGO’s Ilori Olaife, NNNGO’s Communications Officer, provides her thoughts on the situation families around the world. All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the author and does not necessarily reflect NNNGOs opinion.
Thursday, May 15, is World Family Day, a global initiative by the United Nations General Assembly to draw attention to the various problems facing the family. The day reflects the importance the international community attaches to families globally.
This year’s observance of the International Day of Families focuses on the role of families and family-oriented policies in promoting early childhood education, the overall well-being of their members and raising awareness of the role and importance of the institution.
Family constitutes basic unit of the society, we are born into them and some of the most important developing years of lives are spent growing up with families. Family consists of parents rearing their children and it is out of this group that broader communities grow, such as tribes, villages, people, and nations. Families are strongest and healthiest when everyone is empowered to access health care, acquire an education, contribute to their homes and communities and realize their full potentials.
In recent years, researchers who study the structure and evolution of families express unsullied astonishment at how rapidly the family has changed all over the world. The transformation has exceeded predictions of presumed layout.
In Africa, Nigeria, the fate is no different; homes are becoming more segregated with each passing day. There is no connection between spouses, parent-children and siblings, this, sadly might in turn breed bad blood especially when parents become oblivion to the day-to-day activities of such children. Most of the recorded incidences of domestic violence, child molestation, abduction of girls and lack of proper education are as a result of these dysfunctional family backgrounds. Our traditional family cohesion and bond are weakened due to daily life challenges of trying to make ends meet.
The era of a nuclear family, with a dad who went to work and the mom who stayed at home, has declined to the point of no return. Today, family is no longer what it used to be, in the bid to provide extensively for needs, family standards have regrettably gone into extinction, many thanks to several financial needs that cry for attention. Globally, more than 240 million people live outside their countries of birth. And half of them are women risking everything in pursuit of a brighter future for themselves and their children.
Alarmingly, the number of women who are their families’ sole breadwinner has soared to 40 percent today from 11% in 1960. According to some data, more than 80% of children in Asia and the Middle East live with two parents, In America; two-parent households are somewhat less prevalent. However, two-parent pattern is more mixed in sub-Saharan Africa, ranging widely from 36% in South Africa to 78% in Nigeria. Some of the children living with two parents are in households that are also included as extended family.
One change that has caught many family researchers by surprise was the recent dip in the divorce rate after many decades of upward march, followed by a long stay at 50%, however the rate began falling in 1996 and is now just above 40% for first-time marriages. The decline has been even more striking amongst wealthy couples with sound education. Less than one in three marriages is expected to end in divorce. It is indeed disheartening!
Lest we forget that FAMILY is one of society’s oldest and most resilient institutions. Although the structure of the family may vary around the world, the value of family still and must by all means endure. ‘Hosea Balon Farr’ a spiritual leader says: “Education commences at mothers knee, and every word spoken within the hearsay of little children should tend towards the formation of character”.
As a matter of urgency and in spite of the demanding pace of life, parents must by all means teach children worthy morals cum finding time to reconnect with families for living schedules can become hectic and so there must arise the need to slow down and spend time with families and in turn children must be worthy AMBASSADORS of their family tree. A hug, a smile would go a long way in boosting the morale of family members. A HAPPY FAMILY IS A HAPPY SOCIETY, A HAPPY SOCIETY IS A HAPPY NATION AND A HAPPY NATION IS A HAPPY WORLD.