Speakers TableThe UN International Day of Families was supported by an enthusiastic, interfaith audience revealing the universal interest and concern for the family. There were presentations on ‘Preparation and Early Support for Family Life’ from Christian, Sikh, Muslim, Hindu, Jain and Unificationists as well as an explanation of the value of Couple Relationship Education by the Chair of the UPF Marriage and Family Committee, Eddie Hartley. The conclusion was presented by the Chair of the Westminster United Nations’ Association, David Wardop, who referred to the United Nations as a world family whose work of quiet diplomacy solves many of the world’s problems. The UN International Day of Families is one that is regularly supported by the UPF worldwide. The event in the UPF HQ is one of several occurring around the UK.

The main tools to try first (according to the situation) are in orange

Psychometric inventories

- to establish the current status of the current or current prediction for the future relationship. It assesses the couples similarities and also differences in various areas (e.g. communication, conflict resolution, financial managenent, children/parenting, etc.) highlighting strengths and also possible growth areas. It is the possible growth areas which can be strengthened by subsequent programmes and which might endanger the relationship if skills are not improved in these areas. They help make the subsequent programmes followed more targeted and meaningful.

This conference topic and date was arranged and decided with Ambassador for Peace assistance. Due to the MEPI activity the response and the up until the last few days was very limited. However, in the end the result was by the grace of God and according to a number of participants one of the best conferences.

The core Ambassadors for Peace established the framework for this conference last November in a meeting in Lord King’s office. It was to focus on inter-generational tensions, the role of women in the family and the experience of intercultural or interracial marriage.

The first session featured Dr Raheem Khan, a senior member of the Muslim Council of Britain and the Three Faiths Forum, who spoke of the problems of the current society and contrasted them to his experience within the Asian community where communication was still very strong within the family. He spoke of his inspiration with WAIT, which is a young people’s group that proclaims the message of waiting for the right person and to have a sexual relationship within marriage. 

Parmy Olson reflected on her family life and those of her friends. ‘It seems to be that young people want to separate from their parents. It would be better if we spend more time together and talk to them as we would a friend. 'My Dad is my best friend and mentor.' Albert Schweitzer stated that parents teach children in three ways, by example, by example and by example. Every generation has a teenage problem even though it seems that this teen generation is the worst. We need to talk to each other more. We need to speak to our parents and elders.

Alan Rainer said I have been coming to Lancaster Gate for 30 years and it is always a great pleasure. It is like a family here. My doctoral study is the unity of religions. He saw the unity of each religion to the sacrosanct raising of children in the family.

‘In many of the schools in the United Kingdom this basic traditional approach has been eroded for many different reasons, individualism, human rights being claimed without their corresponding  responsibilities.’ He said he cried when he read that one million children had been failed by schools. He said he felt a related statistic was that during their lives 1.5 m men will become persistent criminals. He said he first had to try to tame a classroom of wild teenagers who could not read. Then to control them before he could teach them anything. He added, ‘I have been beaten everywhere on my body during my time as a teacher.’
‘There is no alternative to have to make our stand for traditional values. There is no alternative to protecting future generations and for this the traditional faiths have to work together to ensure that everybody realizes that the secular liberal world is a dangerous illusion but a necessary step in human beings evolution to accepting authority from parents, governments and tradition but with higher skills of evaluation of the right individual and collective path to choose in an open democratic society.’

Dr. Carole Ulanowsky, former senior lecturer at the School of Health and Social Welfare at the Open University in Nottingham, spoke on the topic 'Family under strain - a problematic context for motherhood'  She perceives motherhood as being two under great sociological pressures: individualism and the undermining of parenting, and especially motherhood, in the early years of a child’s life. These pressures influence Government policy and are reflected in the institutions we have established during the last 30 years as key individuals influenced by post-modernism, have turned their backs on motherhood and created similar structures for others to follow.
She added ‘there has been a diminishing of commitment to faith traditions and the ethics and values underpinning these, for example the principle of self-sacrifice, and the emphasis on the importance of family and children.’ The economic encouragement for mothers to return to work quickly has a short term economic benefit to the society but in the long term the society pays dearly in the decline of children’s social, mental and emotional health. She concluded that the rights of women and the rights of children were ‘not mutually exclusive’ and that society is failing to support the role of parents in short ‘a failure to treasure the essence of humanity at all levels.’

In response to a question she added that there is an element of self-justification of professional women who abandoned their children and write theories to justify their position.

Miss Xiaoming Gao a volunteer youth worker from China, spoke of the wonderful relationship she has with her mother. She has been in the UK for three years. ‘I can feel their love even though they are far away. My mother says to me by phone, 'Dont miss home but try to fly as high as you can.'’ The Mum lives her life for the children and her husband. My Mum is a good listener, cook, cleaner, and friend.

There was an emphasis in the contributions from the audience of the role of the media in damaging the family. A number of participants spoke about the need to examine the role of the media and how to influence it. Others said the need was to not encourage the media by turning it off or using media that was more positive. Joy Phillipoo, when reporting on discussions at her table, raised the topic of discipline emphasising the values taught at home protect the society. Cllr. Faisal Khan expressed that grandparents are very valuable within the family to pass on values and traditions. Dr Raheem Khan said the 'father was seen as having the keys to heaven and the mother as the nurturing role of the earth making the gateway to heaven.'

Three Ambassador for Peace Awards were presented just prior to lunch. Julie Coker, Lurlene Hoyte-West and Daniel Ulanowsky.

Prof. Ian Hall spoke about the difficulties he and Radha had experienced just after marriage as an inter-racial couple. His mother in law had been open-minded during Radha’s childhood but with their marriage she was very hard to relate to.

He spoke of the barriers coming down over time until now his mother in law assisted so much with expenses incurred in curing his wife’s cancer.

Mr. Saleem Mohammed spoke of the changes in society regarding sexual activity. In the past the youth would try to maintain their purity and integrity. Now he said the youth do not try to maintain their virginity. ‘The ones who are virgins are beat up at school’ he said. It pains me to see mother’s go through so much to bear and raise a child and but these days the children beat her up and are rude to her he added.

Rita Zaccerelli
My parents always educated me to value one partner for life. There are a lot of couples who are beautiful and committed to each other. Among those couples if a love is centred on something beyond themselves, something higher than themselves, it is even more precious. If they love God first then there life can be so exciting. Love just for themselves is not enough but that love should expand beyond the couple and family to the wider world.

Dr Ayaz
I am honoured to give the last word. The last word is the most important. We have heard 14 principal speakers from all over the world. It has been amazing how the world has come to hear and appreciate the same message.

We can blame the media but why do we continue to receive the media in our homes. We should not allow the media to divide our generations. 

The base of a happy family is the love of God. If there is a problem then we must improve our relationship with God. There must be a source of love in God. We must replete our container with love so that it might be filled regularly. If the children do not receive love at home then they will look at other sources to receive the love they need. They will look at the television, spend more time with their peer group etc.

In the Kingdom of Heaven the family is the original base of True Love. Family has two axis vertical and horizontal planes. Vertical axis is connected to the love of God. The Horizontal plane enjoys the love of God brought to them through the vertical plane of grandparents and parents etc.

We cannot only focus on one family but it is an important to change the environment that the families live in. Much of the blame for the present situation falls on the parents. The parents are divine teachers. What we have learned has come to us from Heaven. What we have inherited has to be passed on to continue the inheritance we have received.

Background sources

a) Marriage

The Case for Marriage – Why married people are happier, healthier and better off financially by Linda J. Waite and Maggie Gallagher from 2000 (USA)
ISBN 0-7679-0632-2 is described as a critically important intervention in the debate about the future of the family. It is extremekly well researched and disproves many myths, shows how cohabition and marriage are not equivalent and that only marriage can deliver the benefits mentioned in its title

In the HOC consultation hand-outs for the consultation held in the House of Commons on 22/04/08 by the Movement for Marriage Dr. Trevor Stammers gave the presentation Marriage and Health on the health benefits of marriage – enlightening!
Dr. Alistair Noble gave the presentation Marriage and Education about the education policy concerning education about marriage is schools and the desirability of doing it.
Dennis Wrigley, Leader of the Maranatha Community gave the important contribution The Future of the Marriage-based Family

Strong Families Around the World by John DeFrain is a valuable article which appeared in Family Matters No.53 Winter 1999 from the Australian Institute of Family Studies and explains that much of the research on families in the 20th Century focused on families in trouble in an effort to answer the question, ‘Why do families fail?’ An alternative approach, focusing on families who are doing well, helps us find answers to the question, ‘How do families succeed?’. It includes the many universal qualities of strong families.

Pre-marriage and Post-marriage Relationship Education – Improving the Trend

Written by Edward Hartely
Saturday, 08 November 2008 00:00

              Edward Hartley

Edward Hartley, co-chair of the GPF Marriage and Family working group opened the focus session by stating “Stable families are the building blocks of a peaceful society; it behoves a country to look carefully at how these can be nurtured”. Mr Hartley went on to say “All couple relationships should ideally succeed in allowing children to grow up in a loving, supportive atmosphere created by a united Mum and Dad - not suffering from emotional or other disadvantages from their family life.”

“Couple relationship education programmes have been shown to be capable of reducing couple breakdown by 20%-30% or more – but only 8% of couples in the UK and many other countries enjoy the benefits of them with the notable exception of Norway, the USA, Australia and one or two other countries”


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