Tuesday, 06 July 2021 22:58

Family Time Important During Summer Months, Year Round Featured

Written by Joe Dorman
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For the Children: A Weekly Column by Joe Dorman, CEO – OICA

Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. The opportunity to spend time with family and friends during this annual celebration is restoring, and watching kids’ eyes light up with the “bombs bursting in air” presents a joy that should make every adult’s heart warm beyond the heat of the summer.

The cost associated with doing a municipal fireworks display compared to the quality of life for families participating is in my mind an expense well worth it if the community has budgeted for such a celebration.

Thinking back on family and these opportunities to cookout and spend time with loved ones, I certainly wish those activities happened more frequently. With our modern fast-paced society, it is difficult to even schedule family dinners regularly for most.

A survey published last year by Wren Kitchens surveyed 2,000 American families regarding their time together. It was found that families still generally eat meals together (chart from survey is attached). In addition, families spend time together with various activities.

Among the family activities are playing games, working together on homework, watching television as a family, and having old fashioned family conversations. Important also to the family dynamic, more than half of families choose to not allow mobile phones at the dinner table. Through these various activities, efforts such as those go a significant distance to improving the quality of life for future generations by instilling these good habits which can be passed down.

It was recently announced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation that Oklahoma ranks 42nd in the nation out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia for various points in child well-being. While this is slightly improved, studies also show that our state has one of worst, if not the worst, propensities for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). These traumatic long term experiences during youth lead to elevated poor health conditions that are passed down by generation.

As they say, knowing is half the battle. Please try to carve out more time with your loved ones for a meal at the dinner table, a family cookout with neighbors, or gathering for local summer festivals as a family. Not only will it build a more solid and stable family, but it will also shape future generations for the better and ultimately reduce those causes leading to divorce, child abuse and neglect, and other factors impacting our state.

  • About OICA: The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy was established in 1983 by a group of citizens seeking to create a strong advocacy network that would provide a voice for the needs of children and youth in Oklahoma, particularly those in the state’s care and those growing up amid poverty, violence, abuse and neglect, disparities, or other situations that put their lives and future at risk. Our mission statement: “Creating awareness, taking action and changing policy to improve the health, safety, and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.”