Friday, July 30, 2010
Families become stronger when they meet together in regular family reunions. Family reunions provide opportunities to gather individual families together. Getting together helps members of larger family groups to understand and love each other better. Reunions are an opportunity to have positive and enjoyable experiences together that cement family relationships. Working and playing together has a powerful and effective way of bringing families together. The memories of well-planned family reunions add to the love and respect between family members. Family reunions provide excellent opportunities for younger family members to become acquainted with their extended family, to get to know their heritage, and to understand that there is a very large group of people who are concerned about them. A family reunion is an excellent way to organize and gather family history and to stimulate interest in gathering family history. I have been attending family reunions for my entire life. As a child I attended reunions of my father's extended family as well as reunions of my mother's side of the family. My parents and their posterity have been gathering together annually for more than thirty years. My husband and I gather our children, spouses and grandchildren together during the Christmas holidays every other year as well as getting together as often as possible at other times. The most important thing in our family is setting the date. The reunion of my parents' posterity is always held about August 1, and the exact date is set a year in advance. Knowing when the reunion will be is very useful in planning for vacation time from work and knitting other activities together with the reunion. For example, members of my individual family often plan other activities for the week following the reunion of our extended family. Advance planning is very useful to family members who must purchase airline tickets and arrange for time off work. The next important item for planning our reunions is to know where the reunion will be held. Our family has learned that a certain park that is centrally located works well for our very large family. A beloved sister-in-law always makes sure that we have the park for our reunion. Our family has also learned that reunions work better when many people are involved in the planning. In order that everyone has an opportunity to share the responsibility of planning and organizing a reunion, the twelve children in my parents' family is divided into two committees. The committees alternate years to run the reunion, and a chairman is chosen from the applicable committee and directs the activities for the reunion. Our family reunions are continually evolving, but they all contain certain elements: food, fun, games, sports, genealogy, more food, and visiting. I particularly enjoy reunions that start with a spiritual basis, such as attending Church or a temple session together. My siblings and I along with our spouses join together for a sibling dinner on the evening before our larger reunion. During our dinner we discuss any problems that need to be brought before the group and do any advance planning for our next reunion. Our adult children hold a "cousins evening" that is held the same evening. A get-together of the entire family is held for several hours on Saturday when everyone gets together for food, fun, games, and visiting. I highly recommend family reunions - and hope that all my family is planning to attend our reunion.