The True Meaning of Family

What comes to mind when you think of family?

For some, it’s immediate and extended families of parents and siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, nieces and nephews. It’s boisterous, perhaps chaotic holiday gatherings, memory-making celebrations of birthdays, weddings and anniversaries, and a large network to fall back on in times of hardship and loss.

For others, family is much smaller. Some people’s lives begin that way. Or perhaps many of their relatives live abroad, or their familial ranks have thinned through moves, death or estrangement.

Although many find nothing but joy, love and acceptance in the concept of family. The reality is, for others, thoughts of family may bring with it difficult memories and challenging situations.

One thing that inspires me, is that many of us find family well beyond blood or shared upbringing – in friends, colleagues, neighbours, communities of choice or beloved pets. Family are those we choose to spend time with, those we confide in, laugh with and cry with, those we know we count on, and those we would do anything for.

There is no doubt that the role and reality of family has changed throughout time and will continue to do so. There is no longer such thing as a “typical” family.

As we mark Family Day, let’s reflect on how families come in many forms.

We all need to care for each other, support each other, and want the best for each other, just as family should. Our family at United Way focuses on what unites us, what we share in common, and what we can do together to help our fellow neigbhours.

On this Family Day, let us celebrate family wherever we find it.

Brad Park,

President and CEO

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