National Families Week aims to honour the diverse nature of families and highlight their remarkable resilience and capabilities in fostering robust, secure, and interconnected communities. The 2023 theme centres around Living Real, Dreaming BIG, and is an opportunity to rejoice in the significance of the family unit and cherish family life, regardless of the shape and form it may take.
Having a mother and father who are actively involved in their children’s lives is recommended by both secular and Christian research. But we are currently suffering an epidemic of fatherlessness, and the consequences are being felt.
Brett Ryan from Focus on the Family says that an absent father has a flow on effect in our culture today. It doesn’t determine everything, but it is a serious factor. To have regular family mealtimes and engagement together can affect the trajectory of a child enormously.
‘There is too much pressure to make every moment Instagram worthy,’ says Brett. ‘When our boys were little, we took them on regular date nights. They had the choice that what we did, and quite often it was simply can we just go and kick the soccer ball, or go and shoot some hoops.’
Encouragement and Appreciation
Brett says that he and Kate also wrote notes and cards to their boys when they went on school camps and camping trips. Words to affirm and to encourage one another and show appreciation mean the world. It’s the little things that can make all the difference in our families.
‘Families Australia has a variety of different resources,’ says Brett. ‘But they’re all biblically based to improve the health and wellbeing of your marriage. There is a whole parenting series on how to talk to your kids about social media, technology and sexuality, as well as things like mental health.’
The resources have all been made available for free thanks to some generous donations, and people who want to see more families thrive. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re interested in academics or theology as well as some great resources about how to defend your faith.
‘We want kids to grow up to be responsible,’ says Brett. ‘And to be more resilient. If you’re not sure how you’re going in your parenting journey, we’ve also got a parenting assessment tool. This will help you identify areas of growth.’
‘Our ultimate goal is to make Christ the centre of our families and relationships, and create a God honouring legacy.’
Click here for more information on National Families Week and to access their free online tools.