The tie that binds...Blair says family reunions are critical to maintain the bond
A family reunion is more than just fun time. It is also an event to share rich family history.
Many families, however, for one reason or another, do not indulge in this practice. With limited budget, setting time and resources aside for this kind of activity is not high on their priority list.
With families scattered far and wide, new births, and lack of visits, these occasions present the only chance some families will ever get to reconnect.
Bishop Herro Blair, founder of Faith Cathedral Deliverance Centre, is strong on family reunions. Every two years the Blair family unites in different countries and sometimes even on ships. This, he said, is because he considers this time critical.
"In my opinion, it is extremely important. Once you grow up with siblings, you should appreciate that these are persons that come into your life, not by choice, but by divine order," he said.
Another reason given for its importance, according to Blair, is the fact that families tend to become diversified based on the integration process of merging with other families.
"It helps to strengthen the family unit when the opportunities are opened across the diaspora. Family members tend to migrate and sometimes are in many different countries, hence the need for occasional reunion to strengthen the bond," he said.
For Blair, families decide on how often they keep this gathering. He said some do it every two years, while others, every five years. "It's different strokes for different folks."
While acknowledging that finance can be a big challenge in hosting family reunions, he stressed the importance of making the effort.
"Coming together is essential for bonding. It is also important for fellowship with family. It is something that a lot of planning should go into, hence giving each and every one time to save for the occasion and plan for the vacation time," Blair said.
Media marketing executive Dave Rodney, who recently returned to his homeland to enjoy the Stewart-Irving family reunion, agrees with the bishop.
"In today's migratory world where families are scattered all over the globe, family reunions have become an important glue to keep the branches of the tree connected to the trunk and the roots. It is very important to take time out from everyone's busy schedule to celebrate life rather than mourn departures," he told Family and Religion.
For him, reunions represent a chance to spend fun times together in a stress-free environment. It is also a time to learn new facts about the family's history and about each other.
"The young kids, who sometimes live in different cities get to know about their roots, usually for the first time. They meet their cousins, relatives, other family members, and family friends. It's a great opportunity to worship together and it's a good place to deal with family business, like wills, inheritances, last wishes, and other family matters that are rarely discussed," he said.
Family reunions also afford the opportunity to document family history through videos and photographs.
For those who see family reunions as a waste of time or unnecessary, Rodney said families will splinter and dissipate without a trace of each other.
"This was the case for most of the last century. Family reunions are not cheap, but neither are weddings and funerals, so families should make the sacrifice to do them as often as they can be afforded," said Rodney.