Anne Doherty | Provided Photo
By Anne Doherty
There’s no doubt that we are living in tumultuous times. Yes, we have war in Ukraine, and now, war again in the Middle East. We have a crisis at our own border. A million have reportedly died from COVID-19, while Fentanyl is killing about 75,000 per year.
But what really makes our times hard to handle is the change in culture. With confirmation bias guiding our selection of news and cultural sources, the more we get what we want, the more we don’t know who we are, and the more afraid of the future we become.
Yet, we can’t know where we’re going until we know where we’ve been.
One day in June I saw what I assumed, and later confirmed, was a bogus news post – that said Italy had just abandoned “Pride Month” for “Family Month.” I didn’t know Italy had a Pride Month, but I figured the article was bogus simply because if the same thing happened in the US, the news would’ve triggered so much response my phone would’ve melted. But it made me wonder. Do we have Family Month in the US?
We do. It’s the month between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day – so a good chunk of both May and June. Hardly anyone celebrates it – just a few Catholic churches and a government organization that supports single moms. There’s also a Working Families Month – October – when we’re supposed to celebrate working…and families. When I told friends, I got a surprise response: “Family. That’s such a controversial word.” or “No one in my family would want to celebrate THAT.” And that struck me as just wrong.
Family is what we all have in common. Whether we know them or not, whether we like them or not, we all have a biological mom and a biological dad, plus 4 biological grandparents, 8 great-grandparents, etc. We may also have adopted or step-parents, but basically, we all started out the same way – egg plus sperm.
My grandfathers, who hailed from different states, fought on the same battlefields in World War I. They never met, but their children did, and grandchildren resulted. One was a tough guy who lived a long time, the other a gentleman who died young. I don’t have to know or like them for them to matter – or for them to influence me. The same is true for you and your family history.
The US and much of the Western world for that matter is pulling away from marriage and family. Our psychologically obsessed world has created a blame chain where if somehow you didn’t get the family you wanted you discard them. But in fact, the more you didn’t want the ones you got the more important they are to you. These harmful relations tested the existential bond between you, and hopefully, you became stronger for it.
So I’m proposing that we do more than celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day – that we celebrate Family – the good, bad, and the indifferent – for the whole month of June because family is everything. Without it, there wouldn’t be anybody or anything. We are each individuals who make our own choices and pursue our own happiness, but we do that launched and/or supported by a web of past, present, and future family ties. It’s who we are. And if we can’t accept ourselves, we cannot accept others. If we can’t accept our past, we can’t embrace our future.
Check out www.familymonthproject.com and join the conversation on the best ways to celebrate, and then spread the word.
Anne Doherty is a wife, mother, and a hypnotherapist working out of Santa Fe.