Monday, October 30, 2017

The secret about big families

I don't consider our four children a 'big family' (since I come from a family of 11!), but just the fact that I hope to someday grow our family is considered odd to a lot of the people I interact with.

I was talking it over with my dad a few weeks ago and he commented that the joys and gifts of a big family is "one of the little-known secrets of the world."

They are totally fun. It's more fun to play games, sports, and spend down time together. When you have a big family, you can play backyard football with the family without inviting anybody over. If you're snowed in, you have the perfect amount for a big party with lots of laughs around the family board game. Why do people like to go to big parties? Because it's FUN. Having lots of people around is fun. And that's a lot of what I associate with the word family. It can be loud and hard to get personal space, but the memories that will be the most meaningful to you are the ones spent with other people.

It's easier to create family culture and institute rules. I remember when my oldest daughter went to Primary class for the first time as a 3-year-old. Here was my little girl who I was having such a hard time teaching to sit still and pay attention sitting still! With the example of all the other children around her, she finally got it. Having a big family makes it possible for kids to see the big picture, to feel a part of something bigger than themselves.

It provides kids built-in teaching opportunities. Growing up in a big family, the lessons of sharing, being denied of comfort, and making the best of small resources was thrust upon us. While being part of a big family won't guarantee you'll turn out to be a kind, selfless person, these are lessons that need to be taught, and they can be taught in a big family without a lot of contorting of circumstances.

It's an investment in your future happiness. My parents love to talk about the incredible blessing and comfort a large family is in your older years. Nearly every day they'll get a text about a grandchild doing this or that, or a cute picture of a grandbaby. Their hearts are full as they watch their children, their heart, grow all over the nation.

In the circles I'm a part of, the virtues of big families are not usually extolled. Whether you are trying to decide if it's "worth it"' to have more, or you are simply trying to enjoy the big family you already have, I think it's important to recognize the multitude of positives there are in growing and being a part of a big family.

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