Large familyOne of my favorite childhood memories is of making a card at school for my dad for Father’s Day. It was a fun group activity that typically got us out of whatever normal activity we have in the afternoon and who doesn’t like playing with macaroni, paste and crayons? I wish I could say I enjoyed making Mother’s Day cards as much.

For reasons I won’t get into, I wasn’t raised with my mother, which made Mother’s Day difficult for me to begin with. But sitting on the sidelines while other kids made cards for their moms made it even harder. So I have sympathy for the school in Halifax, Nova Scotia that decided to do away with both Mother’s and Father’s day, instead choosing to follow the “International Day of Families” which is celebrated on May 15th.

After receiving a complaint from a same-sex couple about the separate parent-appreciation holidays, officials at Astral Drive Elementary School decided to try out an alternative celebration which they felt would be more inclusive. Not surprisingly the decision left many parents up in arms. One group gathered more than 600 signatures on a petition demanding that the holidays be reinstated. Another 200+ have signed the petition online.

Local mother Michelle Allaby, who supports the petition, doesn’t have a problem celebrating a family day, but doesn’t want Mother’s and Father’s day to be abandoned:

“They (the children) weren’t allowed to make a card or a craft at Mother’s Day, so, I asked my friends that go to schools in the neighboring area, and they said yes, that their child had come home with a Mother’s Day card or craft, and it was a little upsetting to me.”

I understand the frustration that many of the parents feel. For many parents, the cards and gifts they receive from their child, made at school, are the only things they get for Mother’s or Father’s day. What I don’t understand are some of the reactions from parents, who seem to refuse to acknowledge that the school offered an alternative. One mom, Heather Bruce, told Global News:

“…this year was the first year in six years I didn’t receive a card from

[my son]

because there’s no one else telling him that that it’s Mother’s Day. Those things are important to teach our kids. To honor, respect their parents and they get that from school, sometimes.”

Why can’t kids learn to honor and respect the people who are raising them on International Families Day?

I hope the celebration of International Families Day becomes a trend. I love the idea of taking all of the “family-oriented” holidays and putting them together for one special day. I know, I know, the needs of a small minority shouldn’t outweigh the needs of the larger group, but who says these over-commercialized holidays are a “need” at all?

Why do kids need a special day for each parent, and what does that say to children without a mom, or a dad, or neither? Why does there need to be a national holiday for every person in the family? In addition to Mother’s and Father’s days, there is also a National Grandparents day in both Canada and the US and there has been a push to make Aunt’s and Uncle’s day a thing as well. This is excessive. It makes a lot more sense to have one day to celebrate families of all shapes and sizes.

Sorry, Hallmark.

(Photo: Olesia Bilkei / Shutterstock)