Today is Family Day


The Archdiocese of Hartford wants you…to have dinner with your kids tonight.

Family Day is an initiative of the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University that highlights the importance of parental engagement for giving children the best chance to flourish in life — specifically, to reject the abuse of drugs and alcohol. We would only add to this, of course, the unique and irreplaceable contributions that both a mom and a dad bring to the table (so to speak).

So many things can pose a challenge to families’ spending time together, from job pressures to schoolwork to the seduction of technology. It was a shock to me to encounter situations where three or four people, though closely related, would sit and eat separately like strangers under the same roof with a palpable tension, almost an entity of its own, between them. I say this not to be condescending, but only as a reminder to some of us who have been greatly blessed of how much we may take for granted.

While it would be pretty flippant to suggest that a single meal can change all of this overnight, Family Day is more about establishing any of those small daily rituals that give us insight into one another and make children feel loved and secure — even when they don’t appear to be paying any attention. Indeed, the Family Day information page takes care to note that “there are no silver bullets.” However, CASA provides a wealth of resources for parents who might be looking for a first step to take but are unsure where to start, or those who already have a good relationship with their children but would like to make it even better.

From CASAColumbia founder Joseph A. Califano, Jr.:

America’s drug problem is not going to be solved in courtrooms or legislative hearing rooms by judges and politicians. It will be solved in living rooms and dining rooms and across kitchen tables – by parents and families.

Hear, hear. Long live the family dinner, and may the love and goodwill shown today continue to bear fruit year-round.

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