This month we officially recognize National Family Week, which is celebrated the week of Thanksgiving, which this year will be November 19 through the 25th.
National Family Week was first proclaimed by Richard Nixon in 1972 pursuant to a resolution introduced by a member of Congress from Indiana, Representative John Myers, upon the suggestion of a constituent.
National Family Week is now popularized by the National Family Week Foundation. On the organization’s website, we learn more about the idea of this special week.
“This observance was the idea of Mr. Sam Wiley, a teacher, basketball coach and school administrator in Indiana who observed the stark difference in children who came from strong, supportive families and those who were not being raised in a traditional family unit. He conceived of the idea to set aside a time during Thanksgiving -- when families traditionally gather to give thanks for their many blessings -- to recognize the important role family plays in our society.”
The story continues noting what Ronald Reagan said in his first National Family Week proclamation as President in 1981:
“’The family is the basic unit of our society, the heart of our free democracy. It provides love, acceptance, guidance, support, and instruction to the individual. Community values and goals that give America strength also take root in the home. In times of change and challenge, families keep safe our cultural heritage and reinforce our spiritual foundation.
“’As the mainstay of our national life, family life must be preserved. When a family needs external assistance to help it to perform its unique role, this assistance should not interfere with the family's fundamental responsibilities and prerogatives. Rather, aid should be supportive and purposeful in strengthening the family's stability, self-sufficiency and permanence.
“’National Family Week is a time to be thankful for the family as a national heritage and resource. It is a time to recommit ourselves to the concept of the family -- a concept that must withstand the trends of lifestyle and legislation….’”
In 1987, President Reagan issued an Executive Order that unfortunately is largely forgotten today. Executive Order 12606 was entitled simply “The Family.” The Order instructs all Executive departments and agencies to answer a series of questions about the impact of policies and regulations on the family before implementing such policies.
And here are the majority of those questions: Does this action by government strengthen or erode the stability of the family and particularly, the marital commitment? Does this action strengthen or erode the authority and rights of parents in the education, nurture, and supervision of their children? Does this action help the family perform its functions or does it substitute governmental activity for the function? Does this action increase or decrease family earnings? Do the proposed benefits of this action justify the impact on the family budget? Can this activity be carried out by a lower level of government or by the family itself? What message, intended or otherwise, does this program send to the public concerning the status of the family?
By now, if you are an American citizen who really understands the importance of marriage and family to this country—and to any country—you should be standing up, hooting and hollering, shouting Amen and doing fist-pumps in the air over what President Reagan was doing with this Executive Order.
Last year, President Biden issued a National Family Week Proclamation in which he delineated many policies he took credit for that in his opinion were good for families. He really said very little about the importance of strong families. I anticipate this year’s proclamation to be much the same and vastly different from Reagan’s in 1981 or his 1987 EO.
In stark contrast to President Biden, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt recently issued a proclamation declaring November as Oklahoma Family Month. The proclamation boldly declares, quote, “The family is the foundational institution of society, ordained by God, and is the cornerstone of a healthy and thriving society…the health and strength of the average family determines the path of society….”
May God continue to grant us more leaders like former President Reagan and current Governor Stitt who fearlessly protect and promote God’s design that both glorifies Him and is good for us.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you that God, through the prophet Hosea, said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
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