Today, in many parts of Canada, is Family Day. It is a holiday that was established in 1999 in Alberta, 2007 in Saskatchewan, 2008 in Ontario, and will begin in British Columbia in 2013. Family Day is also celebrated at various other times in a few other countries and American states. In Canada, as holidays go, it’s a pretty recent addition to the list. I can understand why people thought it would be a good idea to have a day off in February; most years it feels like the longest month even though it’s the shortest. What I can’t understand is why they chose to call it Family Day. Holidays usually have a reason to celebrate, something to commemorate, and if not they are called civic or bank holidays. Why is this one called Family Day? Is it really necessary for the government to institute a day to spend with our families? Is it that unlikely that we would spend our time with them if the government didn’t make it sound like that was the purpose? Perhaps.
Family has certainly taken on different forms in recent decades. When people talk of traditional families, they are usually thinking of a mother, father and children. Maybe a family pet. That was pretty much the norm in the 1950s. These days, however, the combinations are much more varied. Depending on the make-up of your family, it may be more and more challenging to find time to spend together. As a teacher, I was faced with students from many different family situations. Some children had the attention that they needed, and some didn’t. Despite the changes in family dynamics, however, this problem has existed since the time of Solomon. In Proverbs 22:6 he advised parents to teach their children to live Godly lives, with the assurance that when they grew up they would remember what they had been taught. This is an activity that requires time and attention. And discipline. Children don’t naturally know right from wrong; they have to be taught it, and if it becomes part of their training when they are young, it will be part of their lives long after they leave home.
Children don’t forget how they’ve been brought up, but sometimes they choose to ignore it. Proverbs 22:6 is a principle, not a promise. Sometimes children choose to do things in a way that completely disregards what they have been taught, but that is a freedom that God has given to all of us. He has made known to us what is right, and we can choose whether we want to live by it or not. He gave parents the responsibility to teach those things to their children. If parents don’t instruct their children to do what is right, it will be much more difficult for them to figure it out later in life. If parents train their children to be godly, it is likely that the children will continue in that way for the rest of their lives. Even if they rebel for a time, they will know the way back to the right path.