April 2012 – Unity
The state of being united or joined as a whole-harmony or agreement among people or groups
“So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.”-Baha’u’llah
“Unity to be real must stand the severest strain without breaking.” -Mahatma Gandhi
“Unity can only be manifested by the Binary. Unity itself and the idea of Unity are already two.”-Buddha
“We must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” -Benjamin Franklin
“In union there is strength.” -Aesop
Creating Family Unity
Strong families recognize that there are benefits and pleasures to be gained from time and activities together. They value the family bond and make special efforts to preserve time together for activities and interaction. By spending pleasant time together, families build a reserve of good feelings and are able to cope with personal and family crisis more effectively. Strong families are deeply committed to the family unit and to promoting the happiness and welfare of each other. Family commitment comes from an active involvement in setting and carrying out family goals. Families work to spend prime time together. They don’t simply take advantage of spare time to devote to the family; they actually plan for quality family time.
What is Unity?
Family unity encourages families to create daily routines as well as special traditions and celebrations to affirm members, connect them to their family roots, and add fun to ordinary family events. Family unity includes time that family members spend together—both quality and quantity. Family unity means maintaining family identity and togetherness and balancing family priorities with support for individual needs. Family unity produces strong family bonds and freedom for individual self-expression.
What families do together does not matter as much as that they do something together that is mutually planned and enjoyable. Spontaneity, humor, wit, and fun are goals to work toward. A balance of family time should include some of the following characteristics:
- active and inactive
- physical and mental
- at home and away
- work and play
Characteristics of Family Unity
Family time does not come easily. Activities and overload are a sign of the times for youth and adults. The challenge is to manage and prioritize your time so that family time is possible. The benefits of increasing family unity are endless and can achieve the following:
- helps everyone to feel that they are important,
- helps build family pride,
- keeps the line of communication open between family members, • instills an appreciation of family,
- helps family members prioritize and value family time, and
- can foster creativity and provide a fun-filled experience
Strong families are deeply committed to the family unit and to promoting the happiness and welfare of each other. Commitment is a vital factor in developing a strong sense of family unity. A quality that constantly appears in strong families is a feeling that they can depend on each other in good times and bad times. The sense of knowing that someone is always there for you helps individuals develop self-esteem and a sense of individual worth. This security can come from a diverse variety of family structures. Families can provide unity and support in a nuclear or extended setting. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends are all an important part of the family structure that can provide love and support systems for the family.
We must begin at an early age in order to instill an appreciation and love of family.
When children are young they require a great deal of time for care-giving. However, family members must struggle to balance the care-giving time with the fun time. Young children can develop strong family ties to extended family members and siblings which can provide a greater understanding and appreciation for quality family time. Tips for helping preschoolers develop an appreciation for family unity include the following:
1. Ask questions about family history and interact with older family members.
2. Draw, design, or create your family tree.
3. Plan a special activity and spend one-on-one time with each member of your family.
School and other activities can begin to take a great deal of time, and special care should be given to spend time with your family. It is important to spend time with all family members and to take time to talk, ask questions, and show appreciation for one another. Suggestions for increasing family unity are:
1. Spend time with family members and ask them to share stories of their childhood.
2. Spend time with your brothers and/or sisters organizing family photographs and videos.
3. Remember family birthdays and anniversary with homemade cards and notes.
Middle/Junior High Adolescents
Although peers become more important during adolescent years, it is important that you make time to spend with family. Plan a family service activity that can include your entire family, such as collecting toys for needy children during the holidays or sponsoring a roadside cleanup in your neighborhood. Physical activities, games, and sports are wonderful ways that you can spend quality time with your family.
Senior High Teens
Teenagers have as busy schedules as many adults. It is often hard to find time to fit everything into one day. Family activities may need to be planned in advance. You might ask your parent to help you with a school project, work on your car, or help plan an activity or event. Include your younger siblings in on some of your activities; you can be an important role model in their lives.
There are never enough hours in the day to do everything! Quality family time must become a priority early in your relationship with your spouse, children, and extended family. Planning becomes the critical issue. We must learn to put what matters most to us first in our priorities. It is possible to balance work and family responsibilities, but it takes planning, time management, sacrifice, and devotion.
The key to success in building family unity is planning, perseverance, and flexibility. Your relationship with the members of your family is the foundation upon which your family is built. The stronger the foundation is, the more strength you can draw from it. Remember: If you are too busy to spend time as a family, you are too busy!
Family Unity Activity
Spend some family time discussing the questions listed below. Select a convenient time to do this activity. Include all family members and encourage everyone to take part in the discussion. You can place these questions on folded slips of paper and have each family member select a question to begin the discussion.
1. Do you feel that you are an important part of the family?
2. Is there a calm, accepting, and happy home atmosphere?
3. Do you feel the freedom to express yourself?
4. Do other family members show an interest in your activities?
5. Do the other family members respect your feelings and ideas?
6. Are your family members too busy to take time to be with you?
7. Do your family members respect your property and privacy?
8. Do you feel that you can depend on your family to support you in challenging times?
9. Does your family encourage displays of affection and acceptance?
10. When your family disagrees, do you take time to resolve the problem?
Once the family has talked about these issues, decide which areas can be strengthened and improved. Plan how you can work on these areas together and establish a time to continue this discussion later. Family unity is a lifelong process that takes work and dedication – but the rewards are endless!
Books about Unity
- The Crayon Kingdom by Jennie Bishop
- Aesops Fables by Aesop
- A Peculiar Rainbow by Keith Rozier
- Adventures of the Little Green Dragon by Mari Privette Ulmer
Unity in the Workplace
In many workplaces, managers attempt to promote harmony and the building of unity by engaging workers in team-building exercises. If your aim is not only to bolster the development of relationships in your workplace, but also to amp up efficiency, select team-building exercises tailored to meet this aim. By giving your employees a break from the day and engaging them in exercises of this type, you can not only promote the development of strong team unity, but also make increasing efficiency a fun process.
A lack of communication can hinder workplace efficiency. If you think your workers simply aren’t communicating as effectively as they should be, a simple game of telephone may help get your point across. Prepare for this game by writing down a humorous message on an index card and making several copies. Start the game by dividing your employees into teams. Have each team form a circle. Give one member of the team a copy of the card with the phrase. Ask employees to spread the message around the circle, taking turns whispering it into the ear of the person to their left. After the message has moved around the circle, allow the final recipient in each team to share the message with the group. In all likelihood, this message will have changed much from its original version. As employees laugh at the bumbled new message, they will likely learn an important lesson in the value of communication.
Turn the completion of daily tasks into an engaging game. Set up a relay race of sorts in which workers must complete tasks they do on a daily basis. For example, one section of your race could have workers opening envelopes as quickly as they can, another setting up a phone line and a third assembling a piece of equipment they use daily. Divide your workforce into teams, and allow them to move through this race, completing the tasks as fast as possible.
Increase efficiency by building employee knowledge in your team-building game. Create a business BINGO game by writing words germane to your business on BINGO cards. On slips of paper, write definitions that match these words. When time comes to play the game, group employees into groups of two to four. Give each group a BINGO card. Draw the slips of paper containing the definitions out of a hat and ask employees to cross of the words that pair with the definitions if they are present on their cards. Reward the first team to create a pattern of five in a row.
Help your employees better understand important procedures within your workplace to enable them to more quickly complete job-related tasks. Take your procedure manual and cut it up, creating separate, un-numbered slips of paper containing parts of your procedure. Place these jumbled procedure slips into an envelope. Complete this process several times, creating different jumbled collections. When game time comes, give each group of employees one envelope and ask them to order the procedure parts as quickly as possible.