The New York Review of Magazines

Thriving Family

Circulation: 300,000
Date of Birth: 2009
Frequency: Bimonthly
Price: $3.99

By Jessona McDonald

If you happened to come across the January/February 2012 issue of Thriving Family magazine, you might have found yourself smiling along with the friendly-looking people on the cover. The picture features fourteen-month-old twins, Olivet and Emayah, beautiful smiling girls with piercing blue eyes and bright bows in their red hair. They are the daughters of Josh and Katie Krehbiel, intercessory missionaries who wish to raise their daughters in a community and culture of worship and prayer. Intercessory missionaries? You’re probably wondering what that means, and also what it means to raise children in a culture of worship and prayer.

Questions like that are clearly and appealingly answered in the articles you’ll find in Thriving Family, a bimonthly Christian magazine dedicated to helping parents raise healthy families. As intercessory missionaries, the Krehbiels dedicate their lives to the service of missionaries across the globe, praying day and night for their safety and success in bringing the Gospel to people around the world. As parents, the Krehbiels want their daughters to grow up knowing the importance of considering the struggles of others. Despite their uncommon lifestyle, the goal they have for their children is similar to Thriving Family’s goal of helping parents raise their children to be selfless in a narcissistic society.

The magazine is one of the many branches of Focus on the Family, a major Christian nonprofit organization founded in 1977 by psychologist Dr. James C. Dobson. Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., the organization aims to nurture and defend the God-ordained institution of the family by promoting biblical truths worldwide.

Thriving Family came into being through the combined efforts of two similar publications: Focus on the Family magazine and Focus on Your Child newsletter. Both the editorial and design staff saw that the magazine and newsletter were not reaching new and young parents—the average age of Focus on the Family magazine subscribers was forty-five. After some two years of editorial and design work, Thriving Family launched in November 2009, just months after its predecessors ceased production.

Although the primary audience for the magazine is married parents with children, Thriving Family also includes articles with tips for single parents, blended families and extended families, and addresses such nontraditional family situations as military, adoptive and special-needs families. The magazine emphasizes its strong belief in the sanctity of life. Thriving Family is packed with inspirational stories ranging from miracle babies to rescue missions by hometown heroes.

The pictures alone provide an incentive to flip through the pages. Each issue contains photos that readers can easily relate to—from cute toddlers playing in dirt to adult couples in the middle of screaming matches. The photos illustrate real situations and real issues. With articles like “Date Night Ideas” and “The Value of Integrity,” Thriving Family touches upon a wide variety of topics.

One of the most popular topics deals with
issues facing married couples. For example, Kirk and Chelsea Cameron, best known for their roles as Mike Seaver and Kate MacDonald in the TV sitcom Growing Pains, were featured in the 2010 January/February issue. Since Growing Pains, Kirk has acted in independent films while Chelsea remains at home with their six children, four of whom were adopted. In this feature, the couple discussed some of the challenges they have faced together. The roughest times during their marriage were often the result of busy schedules, selfishness, stress and major life transitions. It was during these times, they said, that they learned kindness, patience and selflessness by trusting in God.

This is the kind of message that Thriving Family delivers effectively, promoting good family values during a time when such values are seldom found in our society. The magazine doesn’t seek to paint a picture-perfect image of family. It recognizes real issues, offering solutions and giving hope.


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