In 2011, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared July 30th as International Friendship Day. The idea behind the day was to create an opportunity for young and old to reach across age-old barriers and to build bridges to understanding–and hopefully a pathway to unity–something we could all benefit from about now. Because, as Winnie-the-Pooh author A.A. Milne once said, “You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
Transracial families, especially, have a great stake in the day as it presents an opportunity to share what you know and have learned about becoming a transracial family with those who may not have had as much exposure or lack understanding of just what you’re all about. We’ve all seen the news headlines as of late regarding racial tensions both in the states and abroad. Why not be part of a healthy and fun solution where you can truly be the change you want to see?
And while the International Day of Friendship certainly won’t solve the all world’s problems, it’s an opportunity for you to start within your own corner of the globe–your peeps–and your peeps’ peeps–to connect with those around you in your neighborhood, school, and workplace to plant the seed of friendship and understanding and, in turn, grow stronger communities.
What can you do?
Pick up the phone. Social media is great, but despite the name, it can limit our ability to communicate in depth, and privacy issues are a-plenty. Consider calling—not texting—a friend you haven’t seen in a while to set up a coffee date. Can’t find a good time? Even just a phone call can help bridge a gap. And Facetime and Skype are both great ways to reach out and touch those who live a plane ride away.
Potluck. Everybody is busy, but we all have to stop to eat. Throw out some dates to your neighbors and see if you can organize a casual potluck picnic. Haven’t had a chance to introduce yourself to the new neighbor? There’s no time like the present! Add some games for young and old alike and get everyone involved.
Simple Gifts. Remember friendship bracelets? They never go out of style. You and your little ones can enjoy making them together and then handing them out to friends and friends-to-be on the playground. Or consider making a stop at a local hospital or nursing home!
Work it. You know what they say about all work and no play? Everybody loves baked goods. Consider bringing in a snack to share, leave at the coffee pot, or invite other departments down for a meet-and-greet.
Write On. Can’t afford a flight across country? Send a card! Have your little one draw a special picture and include what you’ve been up to. Encourage your friend to write back!
Happy International Friendship Day to you, friends!