“The happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others." - Gordon B. Hinckley
Cell phones, computers, virtual meetings and workshops are moving my family further away from reality. At our last reunion meeting they actually discussed a virtual reunion, saying it would work out better for the large number of seniors who are having a hard time attending in person. I think it goes against all that being family is all about. Is it ever appropriate to hold a “virtual family reunion”?
Over the past few years, we’ve been privileged to review excerpts from Dr. Vargus’ unpublished book, Finding the Rest of Me: African American Family Reunions. And we’ve gained great knowledge and insight from the wisdom she’s shared regarding families and reunions, including the extended family concept, bringing the family together, how reunions get started, organizing the reunion, telling our stories, embracing family through recollections, and strengthening the family.
Dr. Vargus researched; met, spoke with and visited many families; and uncovered an extensive amount of information regarding the decline and revival of the extended family, early recorded reunions, reunion benefits, naming the reunion, selecting location and date, family involvement, themes, activities, and financing, finding family members, family associations, and dissension.
Through her teachings we’ve learned much about ourselves, our families and reunions. Reunions are much more than just a picnic. Reunions evolve and change and grow just as our families do. The extended family is just as important as the nuclear family. And we have to put in some work—and work together—to make sure our family’s stay together.
Last month we reviewed our final exceprt from Finding the Rest of Me... Join us next month to see what’s next.
Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love." - Mother Teresa
"We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked, and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for is the greatest poverty." - Mother Teresa
It’s National Ethics Awareness Month. And in light of all that’s going on in the world, it might do the family some good to consider creating Core Values to model themselves after.
Core Values can help a family establish beliefs and ambitions; identify principles to guide behaviors and goals; and help to reinforce the difference between right, wrong, expected and respectful conduct. Core values can distinguish ways in which members can support one another’s ambitions and provide assistance to one another.
You can use current events as discussion topics to help guide initial conversations, and create an ideal list of values for your family. Then use that list to determine which ones you want your family to adopt and work on. The core values can be reinforced and/or added on to at each reunion, where family members can talk about how they’ve grown, benefitted—or been challenged—by them.
March is bursting at the seams with things to do, celebrate, educate, explore, and make great family time out of, especially Social Workers Month, Women’s History Month and Black Women In Jazz & The Arts Month. Dr. Ione Vargus, founder of the Family Reunion Institute, trailblazer, and former Acting Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Temple University—who served as the first African American academic Dean, and the Dean of the School of Social Administration—is a big advocate for social work and jazz, and her lifetime of achievements makes her one of the women whose contributions to history, culture and society are acknowledged and celebrated this month.
With a dedication to education, family and public service, Dr. Vargus earned a PhD in Social Policy & Administration at Brandeis University, an MA in Social Administration at University Chicago, and a BA in Sociology from Jackson College at Tufts University. She has an extensive list of career accomplishments that include being a family worker at the Boston Housing Authority; Camp Fire Girls Project Director; Assistant Professor at Brandeis University, and Assistant Professor at University Illinois, and Associate Dean, Dean, Professor, Acting Vice Provost, and Presidential Fellow at Temple University. She began her research on African American family reunions in 1986, and traveled the east coast to attend family reunions where she interviewed families about the purposes and benefits of reunions. She produced a radio documentary on family reunions for WRTI and, organized the conference on African American Family Reunions. She continues collecting information about families and their reunions.
Dr. Vargus has published on a number of different topics, been profiled and/or quoted in many local and national magazines and newspapers, and has appeared on several television and radio programs. She published a book entitled, Revival of Ideology: The Afro-American Society Movement, and has completed a manuscript on the benefits and purposes of family reunions entitled Finding The Rest of Me: African American Family Reunions.
March is host month to hundreds of observances including Irish American Heritage Month, Expanding Girls’ Horizons in Science and Engineering Month, National Black Women in Jazz and the Arts Day, Incredible Kid Day, World Compliment Day, Let’s Laugh Day, Zero Discrimination Day, Forgive Mom and Dad Day, Daylight Savings, Poetry Day, Common Courtesy Day and Ethics Awareness Month. You can check them all out in this month’s Family Time. This month’s reunion tip of the month is a repeat from last year and speaks to Ethics Awareness Month. We sum up what we’ve learned from Dr. Vargus’ book in The Family. And Worth Repeating is an ode to Social Work.
Let’s all do our best to be great this month (and throughout the year), and encourage our families to do the same. Let’s raise our ethics meters. Let’s encourage and/or inspire incredible kids. Let’s be, feel and enjoy happy moments each day. And, let’s laugh more, be forgiving, less discriminating, and more courteous with one another.
Here’s hoping that Spring comes in, thaws us out, and delivers an abundance of brighter days ahead. Wishing you and your family a warm, safe, health conscious and fulfilling March.
NEW THIS MONTH:
> THE FAMILY
> FAMILY TIME
> WORTH REPEATING
> REUNION TIP OF THE MONTH
March photos courtesy of Yahoo images.
March is bursting at the seams with plenty to do, eat, explore, discover, celebrate, enjoy and make great family time out of. We hand-picked 70 observances to help encourage and inspire your family time this month, National Women’s History Month, Social Workers Month, Expanding Girls’ Horizons in Science and Engineering Month, International Black Women In Jazz & The Arts Month, March Madness, Incredible Kid Day, and so much more…
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Ready to welcome Spring!