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UN International Day of Families 2012

Day of Families Observed at a Workshop in St. Lucia

Marisule, St. Lucia -  The St. Lucia Chapter of UPF celebrated the UN International Day of Families with a one-day workshop on May 19 in Marisule, Gros-Islet. Organized jointly by UPF and the National Youth Council, the activity brought together a mix of youth leaders and more mature Ambassadors for Peace to discuss the theme “Better Families for Stronger Communities.” Forty participants attended the event.

Jonathan Chalon, President of the National Youth Council, emceed the event and explained that the connection between strong families and economic and political development is not very often emphasized in popular discourse.

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The first presentation was given by Remy Taupier, Secretary General of UPF-St. Lucia, under the title: “The Family as the School of Love and Peace.”

UNICEF says on its website: “All the key ingredients of emotional intelligence — confidence, curiosity, intentionality, self-control, relatedness, capacity to communicate and cooperativeness — that determine how a child learns and relates in school and in life in general, depend on the kind of early care he or she receives from parents, pre-school teachers and caregivers. … But, as is often the case, when children don’t get the right start, they never catch up or reach their full potential.”

Today governments spend millions of dollars to equip youth with “soft skills,” “social skills,” “communication skills,” and “relational skills,”  but the natural place where youth should learn these skills is in their own families.

The next presentation, by Maria Sebastian from the US Peace Corps/National Youth Council, was on “The Power of Encouragement.” Maria explained that positive reinforcement works better than punishment. The participants were divided in small groups, and Maria gave each group a different scenario to act out; they first time they acted in a negative way and the second time re-acted the scenario with positive encouragement. The scenarios were played with a lot of creativity and humor allowing every participant to learn important lessons in a very joyful way.

The last presentation was given by Dr. Rosemarie Mathurin, former Speaker of the House and longtime Ambassador for Peace. She explained the meaning of this famous Bible verse in Genesis “Be fruitful, multiply and dominate the creation” in a very original way. Many people think that it means “having many children,” but she made the participants realize that “to be fruitful” means to bear good fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith. These are fruits of the spirit or of the heart. From childhood to adulthood we become mature and develop the ability to bear good fruit. We should then multiply and share these good fruits with others. This is the meaning of living for the sake of others. By doing this we can find happiness in our lives and fulfill the purpose of our lives. Ideally we should bear offspring only once we are able to “be fruitful.”

Certificates of recognition were then given to two outstanding couples who have been married for 52 and 55 years respectively; not only did they do a wonderful job patiently raising their children but both couples have been continuously volunteering their time in their communities.

The conference reinforced in the participants a conviction that having better families is the only way to have better communities.

The three main TV stations, DBS TV, HTS TV, and Choice TV, sent crews to the event and included coverage in their evening news; this shows the media’s interest in issues touching the family.

To read more about UPF observances of the International Day of Families 2012, click here.

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