Family Day Speech

ICC: FAMILY DAY JULY 11, 2009.
 
(Speech of Thycaud Subramonian)
 
Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Greetings to you all. I deem it a pleasure and a privilege to be called upon to say a few words on this occasion on behalf of the senior community of ICC.
 
Whenever we earmark or observe a day for a concept or an institution, we draw attention to some concerns. We also try and strengthen actions, policies, and practices that would lead to a better quality of life or make for a better and safer world.
 
When we celebrate the Family Day, let us take a break and ponder, why a family day? What are we trying to achieve? Family as an institution is as old as human civilization. But in the hectic pace of competitive modern life, the role of the individual becomes more relevant and challenging than the role of a collectivity. In this situation, it is inevitable that the individual tends to overshadow the family.
 
Family is about relationships. Relationship is about love and affection, service and gratitude, giving and receiving, respect and understanding, learning and helping, sharing and feeling, trusting and confiding. It is about giving and receiving moral support in times of challenge; it is about re-assurance in times of doubt; it is about holding a hand in the face of uncertainty; it is about consolation in the face of a calamity. It is about sharing a joy, a joy which has no meaning in solitude.
 
Erosion of family values undermines character. As part of my legal studies early this year, I had occasion to visit juvenile homes, probation departments and correctional facilities in San Jose. Invariably, behind every juvenile is a broken family, a family in disarray. Strengthen the family and you eliminate the crime. Conversely, a cohesive family builds character, commitment and self-worth. A child that grows in a loving family is likely to be a good citizen. Strong families build a strong nation.
 
On the one hand, we need to recognize that American progress has been built on the cult of individualism and the spirit of independence. On the other hand recent years have demonstrated the negative effects of the loosening of family ties and the disruption of family life. The challenge before us is therefore how to preserve the traditional values of the family without dampening the spirit of individualism.
 
This will call for patience and understanding, interest without interference, and perhaps guidance without governance. Can we live together as a family? When we live together under one roof, do we communicate? Can we share? Beyond the material things, can we share feelings, joys and concerns? When we do not live together, can we at least meet together? When we meet, can we eat together, talk and listen? Born as individuals, can we remember that each of us is an integral part of a natural institution, a supportive institution, the Family?
 
We recognize that today families are of different types. But we convey our greetings to all families; yes, all families, regardless of their age profile or gender composition.
 
Little things lead to great results. Childhood photos, a family photo album, a birthday card, a little gift at the right time, a celebration of an event, a recognition of an achievement, a tactful guidance to a child, a re-assuring visit to the sick, an offer of transportation when needed, a telephone call once in a way- these are little things. But little things go a long way.
 
Let me add a special word about seniors. Seniors have a special role and responsibility in strengthening the family and maintaining the family bonds. Seniors have the time, the experience, and - hopefully - the wisdom to provide interactive support to the child and the adolescent. The younger generation, in particular the working adults, the earning members, of the families have an obligation to support the seniors, morally, materially and financially in their collective programs and activities.
 
Having built a strong family, we need to look out and build bonds with neighboring families, breaking the barriers of race, color and religion. Children can play together, mothers can get together, and seniors can meet together. A network of families becomes a strong community.
 
In recent months we have witnessed the widely published news and pictures of our Presidential family, the wife standing by his side to lend support to the husband and at the same time playing an independent role herself, the Obama children going to school, the whole family walking the family dog, all these convey an unmistakable message to the nation. Can we now look forward to a Presidential proclamation of a national “FAMILY DAY,” much on the lines of the Mother’s Day and the Father’s Day? “Three cheers for the Family.” As we stand united for this land, we also say “Three cheers for the nation.”