Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Pros to Having a Large Family


Remember when I started talking about family size? And I promised a second-part, with Advantages To Having A Large Family. Then I dropped the ball, got distracted, preoccupied with art, school, field trips, and many other excuses... and I forgot.

Well, here it is, in all it's glory (yeah, whatever.) My own reasons for why large families are such a dang good idea, for those who want them:

The Advantages For A Large Family

Child-tax credit! Just kidding. ;-)

We’ve heard the argument that “responsible people” will not have children that become a burden to society. (By the way, it even makes me feel sick to type out such a thing, as no child should ever be considered a burden.) Then there are those who call couples who have children "breeders." Oh, yes, they are out there. And the restaurants that won't even serve children (New York, look it up.)

However, surely having large families, with many caring relatives is actually better for society. We can take care of our own. In the future, given the prevalence of small families, there will be many, many older people who will be forced to rely on government care and nursing homes, as they become unable to live alone. Large families help and look out for each other.

(Mimi and Papaw with my four kids, and their four cousins)

Another advantage is that the children of large families are given more responsibility, usually through necessity. I like to tell the kids that “we work together as a family.” I simply don’t have enough time and arms to do everything that needs to be done. You’d better believe this encourages a strong work ethic and a mature attitude at a young age. I have a 10-year old now that can cook us lunch, and do the dishes afterward. Sometimes I trade the dishes-chore for her putting little brother down for a nap. She has developed confidence in what she can do. That said, my standards are not super-high. We have a relaxed house, and I don’t expect the kids to keep it spic and span. It’s just not reasonable, in my opinion. I once heard a friend say that doing chores and helping younger siblings all the time means being deprived and 'robbed of childhood.' Psha. That’s ridiculous. Doing chores and helping others equals more mature, responsible, and helpful adolescents. I believe that it usually carries into adulthood.

From an educational viewpoint, a large family means accommodating and getting along with others, “cooperative learning” among a group of siblings. They also learn patience. And—Big One—they learn that the world does not revolve around them. Better to learn this early.

Another benefit: they are each others' company and entertainment, as well as emotional support. Ask a mom of a single child how hard it is to keep her kid entertained. I have several single-child friends (nothing wrong with that) and most of them will tell you that it can often be just as challenging, in large part because they are their only-child’s only playmate (can’t have company over all the time!) Children learn to interact with peers through interacting with their sisters and brothers. Granted, it's not always peachy fun, but neither is life in the “outside world.” It teaches a sense of reality.

Here’s another tidbit: Statistics show that big families tend to, well, run in families: Women who grow up with many siblings are more likely to have lots of kids themselves. What does that tell you? It’s great to be part of a large family! It’s enjoyable for everyone. If the kids saw miserable parents, they wouldn't likely grow up and recreate the situation. Being a part of a large family is fun, entertaining, and educational.

So when you see a mother with a trail of children following her (or running crazy around her, as the case may be,) don't scowl or even make a funny comment - you won’t be original, I promise you. Better to genuinely smile and realize how lucky she is to get all that love, all those cuddles, sweet "I lub you"s. That is a blessed woman. She may look frazzled and tired, but at the end of a long day, she can peek in at those sleeping children and sigh happily.... not just because they're asleep, but because she loves them so deeply, and can't imagine any greater blessing.

I realize this post is only the tip of the iceberg but, well, I'm tired. Because I have four kids. And they wear me out. ;-) Must rest.

Okay, and here's another possible answer for that stupid question,

“You do know what’s causing that, don’t you?”

"Sure, I just found something I was good at, and decided to stick with it."

Random Quotes on Children:

(I can’t remember where some came from. If you recognize any--I think most were on a “quotes site” somewhere-- please let me know who to attribute them to.)

“Is this what it really comes down to, dollars and cents? It isn't possible to count everything in economic terms. Doing so, or even attempting to reduce everything to the naked economic calculations, shows a kind of soullessness that is the unique product of our spiritually impoverished time.”

"Other people have things, we have children.”

"Kids are as expensive as you make them."

“He that raises a large family does, indeed, while he lives to observe them, stand a broader mark for sorrow; but then he stands a broader mark for pleasure too.” - Benjamin Franklin

“Money, in our time, is a value. Having children, our link to immortality and eternity, is not.”

If our American way of life fails the child, it fails us all." Pearl S. Buck (and I urge you to read about how she changed adoption!)

Maybe we should open our eyes and look at children for what they really are:

blessings, joys, entertainment, laughter, balls of energy, motivation to live better, miracles


Anonymous said...

Well said Wendy. I was the youngest of 5 children in 6 1/2 years. I loved it. I had wanted to have a large family or at least 4 children, but it did not work out that way. But I would not change my life for anything.

Anonymous said...

Amen! Sister, Preach It! I've got more to say later! but right now I have to take care of the sour dough that I'm baking for the fellowship luncheon today at church.
Love, Papaw

Journaling Woman said...

I love the look of your blog. Well done! I will be back.

Soaring High said...

Alas Wendy, I have had this conversation with a relative of mine whom I love but we agree to disagree. I myself come from a family of 5 who had to do without a lot. I love having 4 kids (most days) and woudldn't trade it for the world. I have been called crazy, irresponsible, and my favorite "special." I don't think 4 is even "a lot" of children.
In college, I wrote my term paper on population control and came across a lot of beliefs that scared me and that stemmed strictly from selfishness. The country or civilization that values it's children and families are blessed by God.