David Carrera: The Importance and Value of Family

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Written By Charlotte Miller

In this article, David Carrera explores the notion of Family as a critical attribute of a well-rounded and healthy person that promotes a healthy community and society. The immediate nuclear family can be an integral part of life and helps with the ability to understand what real love is and how a proper support system works, thrives, and helps to overcome many of life’s challenges. So, too, is the beauty of forgiveness and the art of having meaningful human relationships.  

The nuclear family is bonded by blood. That is a fact and can be the strongest of all bonds. But being part of a family doesn’t always mean being bonded by blood. It can mean being surrounded by people who share your values, always have your back, and best interest in mind, provide compassion and empathy, and empower you to be the best version of yourself. To be sure, these families exist throughout the country and the world.

They are apparent to the people who benefit from them but not always directly visible to those outside the family. However, their indirect presence is felt daily because they help people flourish in their relationships with others and in how they communicate.  Carrera emphasizes that this article should not be construed as a religious doctrine or perceived as a conservative rant, which is far from the point.

The point is to reflect on how important a family can be in a human being’s life and how we might all learn to impart more compassion and empathy to those around us—especially considering that so many people do not have the support system of a loving family to help them through many of life’s struggles.

The Value of Family and Family Time

Consider this. Those who are fortunate enough to be part of a strong nuclear family sometimes take for granted the advantage they have. David Carrera notes that fate helps decide the family to which one belongs, but to keep it solid and flourishing sometimes takes tremendous effort and energy and more than a fair share of forgiveness.

Those not lucky enough to experience it may have difficulty understanding how people linked by a bloodline could not always be there for one another despite the circumstances. But it happens every day. Values change, relationships change, priorities change, and circumstances change. This is not to say that people who don’t experience a robust family support system are not good people who flourish in life. It can be quite the opposite.

There are countless examples of people who never benefited from a strong nuclear family, but who have tremendous success in their lives and creating their family unit.  However, many believe that people value being a part of a loving family and having family time, which can often result in happier, more content, and more prosperous human relationships. And they may have an easier time coping with what is an unfortunate part of so many lives: unexpected tragedy, loss of loved ones, mental illness, addiction, divorce, loss of job, and other potentially life-altering circumstances.

Family time is an integral part of what it means to have a family. Whether that means having dinner together, planning and taking vacations together, or simply making time for daily talks, family time is a significant component of a wealthy family life. It is increasingly important now that social media and cell phones have become wholly engrained in daily life for children and adults of all ages.

Example of Institutional Family

David Carrera considers the importance of family as one of the key ingredients to success in life. One of the greatest examples of non-blood, familial cases takes place at USC. The Trojan values of togetherness, life-long bonds, acceptance, helping and protecting other Trojans, celebration, and random acts of kindness and compassion are on display constantly on campus. This is especially evident among classmates, alumni, and parents who come together consistently and in large numbers to support their athletic teams and fellow student-athletes. Parents of Trojans often practice it on others that is never witnessed except by those who benefit from it.

It was witnessed among faculty members and some administrators who, primarily during COVID, practiced compassion and empathy with students and their studies and worked with them to ensure their safety and well-being. David Carrera notes it also takes place at USC Keck Medicine, where doctors, nurses, and staff cared vehemently for their patients and one another under sometimes the most challenging circumstances.  

USC and Keck Medicine represent what it is to have an institutional family of like-minded individuals who represent the best of what people look like when they care about others. It’s no wonder Carrera sees USC as the shining example of what it means to be a proper family in higher education and Los Angeles.

Family Values and How They Shape a Person

Carrera notes that your family can help to shape much of who you are as a person. They give you advice, provide honest and direct feedback, and help you understand points of view that might otherwise not be apparent. By family members’ closeness with one another, they can also attempt to impart control, whether by direct or indirect actions. It is usually a byproduct of knowing one’s tendencies and prior behavior but may also be a projection characteristic that fails to understand one’s true motive. This can result from one’s previous behavior or expected future actions. However, people do change, and as they say in the stock market, “Past performance is no guarantee of future results,” the same can be said for reverse behavior. As Robert Hunter wisely noted, “The first days are the hardest days, don’t you worry anymore…Cause when life looks like Easy Street, there is danger at your door.”

Family members seeking control are not acting in the other family member’s best interests. They are acting in their own. And in doing so, teaching that behavior to other family members can be potentially destructive and erode trust. The reality is that family helps shape a value system, which helps shape decision-making and, in turn, helps shape a person. Everything family members do for or to one another teaches other members of the family values, characteristics, and traits, whether good or bad. Since the family has tremendous power over people’s lives, it is uniquely positioned to have significant influence by shaping perceptions and narratives by people outside of the unit. The strongest and best-functioning families understand this; those family members usually become confident, seasoned, productive, and well-intentioned people.

Creating a Family and Living the Moniker

Families are created every day. Anyone can start one. Whether through marriage and childbirth by creating a support group that remains in people’s lives or any other form a family can take, they blossom daily. If one wants to have a true effect on the lives of others, one should start or join one. Often, the good someone does for themselves will be done for others without it possibly even being known. People exist in their present form for a concise while. They come and go in the blink of an eye. While they are here, what will they be proud of when they depart? The positive effect on another person’s life might be the pinnacle of what can be accomplished in the blink of an eye called “life.”