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Celebrate National Family Week With Your Family

by Micki Smith

For more than 30 years, National Family Week has been observed during the week of Thanksgiving. Begun in 1968 by Indianapolis schoolteacher Sam Wiley, National Family Week is an opportunity to honor the connections that strengthen families and communities.

“Connections Count” is the theme for this year’s observance, which will be November 21-27. If you are looking for ways to observe this celebration with your family, here are some ideas:

*Talk with your family about someone who has made a difference in your lives. It may be a teacher, friend, pastor, relative or someone else who has influenced your life in a positive way. Write a letter thanking him or her for the difference he or she has made in your lives.

*Think of ways to spend quality time with your family during this holiday season. Is there some community or church activity in which you can volunteer some time together with your family?

*Adopt a military family; send a thank you note to someone in the military service. Invite the family of a deployed dad or mom to a meal at your home.

*Learn about a community issue that is important to your family. Discuss the issue with your family. Is there anything you can do to affect change?

*Have a potluck supper with neighbors or with families of your children’s friends.

*Take part in community activities that promote family togetherness.

*Have a Family Night with games, stories, and/or old movies. Don’t’ forget the popcorn and hot chocolate!

*Encourage employers to consider offering flextime occasionally so parents can attend special school functions.

*Reach out to those who may be alone during the holiday season. Invite someone who may be spending the holiday alone into your home for a meal. Even a card, visit or telephone call can brighten someone’s day in ways that you may never know!

These are just a few ideas to keep in mind as we celebrate National Family Week. As you and your family think of other ways to connect with family and friends, you may discover something that will become a family tradition. And traditions can become like “glue” that helps hold families together!

For Release: Week of 11/15/04

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