Happy Family Day? When was that?
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Happy Family Day? When was that?

Is it not an interesting world?  Never a dull moment with one celebration or the other coming every month of the year.  

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It is all as if someone sitting somewhere is playing the draft game and pushing dates on the calendar to create busyness all around us.

Someone sent me a “Happy Family Day” wish last week.  I was in two minds and had to stop to think as I pondered how to wish her back in response, because I had not honestly heard anywhere that the day in question was being marked universally or locally as Family Day.

There was no noise about a Family Day and as I reflected, I could not remember when the last Family Day was ever observed.

What I remembered was that only a couple of weeks ago, some parts of the world observed in style the most celebrated Mother’s Day, and in a month’s time, in some parts of the world, Father’s Day would be marked though not on an escalated scale as Mother’s Day.

I thought in my mind that if one was to ever celebrate families, it should be after mothers, fathers and children’s days.

But come to think of it, if well and truly the family is to be recognised on a special day, which idea of family should be celebrated on such a day?  Is it the nuclear or the extended family?

Family values

Whichever it is, it seems that the family values one grew up with and which provided a strong bonding has since been wheeled to the intensive care and no amount of resuscitation would bring it back to life.

In my life as a Columnist, I have paid visits to two offices of the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) at the Ministries Police Station and the Police Headquarters on the Ring Road in Accra to follow up on the issue of Domestic Violence. Entering the floor at the Ministries office of DOVVSU sent me a signal of what I was not expecting – families in turmoil.

There were countless women, children and a handful of men lined up, and waiting to see one officer or the other about their complaints of abuse or compensations related issues.  


Even though I did not see that number of people at the Police Headquarters’ office of DOVVSU, my enquiries then, on domestic violence, proved a point that families were in disarray and women, seen as the magnets in families, were sore with abuse.  

I learnt at the time that on the average, one in three women were abused in some form in their marriages and the average rate of domestic violence was around 55 per cent. Surprisingly, the information gathered made it clear that the statistics did not exclude highly professional married women and concluded that domestic violence was general and on the increase.

I have also paid a visit to the family court in Accra once, also on fact finding.  From the bitterness on the faces of complainants and from their body languages, one did not need much convincing that families were in pain.

As a member of Zonta Club, we have on our calendar without fail, 16 days of activism from the end of November to early December each year, against all forms of violence against women and girls.  

From our interactions with the UN Fund For Population Activities (UNFPA) in Ghana for example, we have worked together in the area of gender equality to advocate non-discrimination of women and girls.  

All these have been in aid of family ‘’wellness” and good.

Togetherness
So really, if there is a day like Family Day, then one needs to enrich it with inclusiveness. By this, one would want to extend it and draw attention to a day of togetherness, peace and love between the two types of families that exist in our Ghanaian context.  This is the nuclear and the extended families.

Even though the nuclear family system may be under pressure with divorce and other such situations, the extended family continues to play supportive roles in keeping the universal family together.

With my generation, some of us grew up with grandmothers active in our lives.  Grandmothers played central roles bringing their children’s children up and keeping them together as one. 

As such, aunties, uncles and first cousins grew up holding one another up as their family in the real sense.  

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It is time to start bringing this type of family values up for celebration.  One needs to start drawing the family tree that brings people of one blood together and celebrate. That, by the way, brings to mind a most celebrated and meaningful Sunday in my Church’s life as a family of Christ.  

On that Family Sunday, we all came together wearing our Kente cloths or traditional clothes, broke bread together and had a get-together reception at the end of the service.  Very adorable day.

Regrettably however, one only sees blood related togetherness when a member of the family passes away.  

Everyone is seen counted for in the funeral obituary.  It is at the actual day of the funeral that one sees a mockery of family day, with a donations table for wife or husband and children and another one for family, together but divided.   

Writer’s E-mail: [email protected] 

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