Diane Sasser | 10/29/2005 12:08:35 AM
Trying times, like these after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, can test family and community resiliency. Having our families and communities around us for support can go a long way in helping recover from disaster, emotionally as well as physically.
LSU AgCenter family life professor Dr. Diane D. Sasser says purposeful planning of family activities can help us focus on positive actions and help de-stress our lives. The family expert recommends a number of activities to strengthen family and community life and resiliency.
Sasser suggests having weekly family meetings. All family members meet together to discuss who will do certain chores for that week.
Schedule "My Calendar Day" for each family member. On a specific day of the week, one family member gets to pick the menu, select TV shows or choose family activities.
Have a Sunday sundae. Each Sunday all family members get together to have ice cream sundaes and discuss how the week went.
Establish or continue family rituals. The more rituals the family has, the better members will work as a team, and the stronger the family unit will be.
Have a family getaway. It is very important for the family to take vacations together. The more isolated the better – no friends, no phones, no television. Families also learn to work as a unit.
Sasser also suggests two activities that schools can do to strengthen family life. One is to schedule a "Bring parents to School Day." Promote it as an outing similar to "Bring Your Daughter to Work Day."
The other is to plan a "Family Lunch Day." Invite parents to have lunch at their children’s school.
The family expert says communities and neighborhoods also can strengthen family life. For example, put together a neighborhood directory. Doing so helps families meet their neighbors and also gives numbers to call during an emergency.
Establish community living rooms. Such gatherings bring people together to talk about common concerns and help one other on an individual level.
Observe family days. On these occasions entire communities designate special times as family times. Each community can have its own time or there can be a statewide designated time.
For information on related family topics, click on LSU AgCenter Web site, www.lsuagcenter.com. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.
On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/
Source: Diane D. Sasser (225) 578-4448, or Dsasser@agcenter.lsu.edu