It is a time-tested and time-honourned truth that a good family is the foundation of a good society. If society or the world is in turmoil today with the Covid-19 pandemic causing an unprecedented health and economic crisis we need to reflect deeply and go to the roots of what is going wrong and where as we mark the United Nations International Day of Friendship next Thursday.
An inspiring and memorable song may help us in this heart-felt reflection. The song titled ‘you’re my best friend goes like this. “You placed gold on my finger, you brought love like I’ve never known, you gave life to our children, and to me a reason to go on: You’re my bread when I’m hungry, you’re my shelter from troubled winds, you’re my anchor in life’s ocean, but most of all you’re my best friend: When I need hope and inspiration, you’re always strong when I’m tired and weak, I could search this whole world over, you’d still be everything that I need.”
Besides the good values and virtues, a spirit of sacrifice, service and self-giving, the husband and wife need to be best friends as the singer Don Williams proclaims. With such an attitude and deeds to demonstrate it the virtues will inspire and become part of the lives of the children also and we will have sincere, selfless, sacrificial and service-oriented families who will be ready to give love and forgiveness, mercy and compassion to others. If we have millions or tens of millions of such wonderful families this world will be like a paradise, not the hellhole we survive in.
In a statement to mark the International Day of Friendship, the UN shows how we could share the human spirit through friendship. It says the world faces many challenges, crises and forces of division — such as poverty, violence, and human rights abuses among many others. These negative factors undermine peace, security, development and social harmony among the world’s people.
To confront those crises and challenges, their root causes must be addressed by promoting and defending a shared spirit of human solidarity that takes many forms — the simplest of which is friendship. Through friendship — by accumulating bonds of camaraderie and developing strong ties of trust — we can contribute to the fundamental shifts that are urgently needed to achieve lasting stability, weave a safety net that will protect us all and generate passion for a better world where the people are united for the greater good. The International Day of Friendship was proclaimed in 2011 by the UN General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities. The resolution places emphasis on involving young people, as future leaders, in community activities that include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity. The resolution places emphasis on involving young people, as future leaders, in community activities that include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity.
This day of friendship was proposed by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) defining the culture of peace as a set of values, attitudes and behaviours that reject violence and endeavour to prevent conflicts by addressing their root causes with a view to solving problems. It was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1997. Recommending action to promote a culture of peace, the UN says we need to foster this culture through education, promote sustainable economic and social development, promote respect for human rights, ensure equality between women and men, foster democratic participation, advance understanding, tolerance and solidarity. It also says we need to support participatory communication, the free flow of information and knowledge, promote international peace and security.
We need to bear in mind that friendship among people, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and present an opportunity to build bridges between communities, honouring cultural diversity.
So we see how vital true friendship is, starting in the family, communities, work places and other areas. As Mahatma Gandhi has said, with every true friendship we build more firmly the foundations on which the peace of the whole world rests. In a gentle way you can shake the world.
Thus from a good family will come friends in need who are friends indeed and this virtue will be the foundation for world peace, racial equality and social justice.