The Family Day holiday helps to focus attention on the importance of family in Canadian society, says a UWindsor social work professor.
“The idea that we have decided this is important highlights that as a nation, we are dedicated to family,” Jim Coyle said in an interview Wednesday. “Whether we are First Nations, have long roots in Canada, or are recent immigrants to this country, one of the things we all have in common is that family is a basic building block in our lives.”
Dr. Coyle’s research explores family resilience – the ability of a family to survive adversity. He says three characteristics are key: a sense of belonging and togetherness, a dedication to communication and problem-solving, and a belief that sticking together helps individuals face difficulties.
Each of these may be strengthened by the Family Day holiday, said Coyle.
“It gives us time to spend together,” he said. “To take a day off from work reminds us that for many, family is what supports us and keeps us going.”
He expects that as Family Day becomes more established – Ontario first observed it in 2008 – it will develop traditions that help to deepen family bonds. It doesn’t hurt that it provides a welcome respite in late February, as the winter wears on.
“The fruits of our work are often to provide the basis for family,” Coyle said.
The University of Windsor will close for Family Day on Monday, February 20.