Helping Your Family Thrive: Reflections of Community Health Center Doctor

Post written by Dr. Varon Cantrell

How does one define the word “Family”?

The definition I found states, “Two or more people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another, and reside usually in the same dwelling place.”

How does one define the word “Thrive”?  A definition I found states, “To grow or develop well or vigorously or to prosper; flourish.”

In my 34 years of living, there is one thing that I have been taught and tried to live on a daily basis and that is that one cannot grow, develop, prosper or flourish where there are no goals/values or where there is a lack of long-term commitments.

It is imperative that one not confuse “thriving” with money.  While money is needed and it is an important part of life, we must not equate our account balances with thriving.

Thriving or prospering occurs when we are in good health (mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally).  Our thriving begins at home and it is shaped/developed by those people who share our goals and values and with those who are committed to us long term (our families).

My wife and I have multiple children and what we do on a daily basis is let them know how committed we are to them.  After long days of work, we spend time with them on their homework, we have dinner with them and after bathing them, we either read or just hang out until bed time.  We do our very best to let them know that we love them by displaying that love towards one another.  Our children prosper (mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually) because our marriage prospers through Grace and Mercy.

Prospering takes commitment.  We have had to limit the TV viewing to Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons only.  While that hasn’t gone over too well, our children are starting to understand the importance of 9-10 hours of sleep every night and how it helps them to maintain a healthy weight and how it helps them to focus better in school.  Also, we have cut back on the sweets, juice and junk foods. Again, it is not popular, but very necessary.  We are encouraging them to learn how to be wise when it comes to finances.  They are required to deposit any money that they receive (Christmas, birthday or even from the Tooth Fairy) into their banking accounts.  What?  That’s right even at ages 9, 7, 6 and 6!  We are teaching them to be savers and not spenders.

Finally, our children’s spiritual and emotional health are, from our perspectives, the most important component of their very being. We believe that the physical cannot function properly without a strong spiritual foundation.  So, we stress spirituality and daily prayer.

Does our family always get it right?  No.  Are we perfect? No.  But, we try our very best to invest into one another and we therefore are a thriving family.  Because of our Spiritual Foundation. Thoughts?


What are some ways you help your family thrive? Share your tips with us!

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