The Family

The Family

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Criticism for the Larger Family

This following excerpt was taking from the blog Large Families on Purpose which you can find the link to on my sidebar.  It is actually a quote from a book by Chris and Wendy Jeub:

Here's a quote from another book by the Jeubs that I'm so enjoying currently called Love Another Child. This quote makes me laugh - it's a great description of what Bob and I have experienced since we've become parents of a large family.

"A funny thing happened at seven children [five for the Shupes]. The social pressure disappeared. Family and friends stopped dropping those annoying comments like, 'Aren't you done yet?' or, 'You do know how that happens, don't you?' When you have two, you're extremely normal; at four or five, you're in the same boat as many married couples, wondering whether or not to cut the line and stop having children. Once you're at seven, though, you're in Looneyland - you're 'out there' and there ain't no persuadin' you.

Something happened to us, too. The pressures to conform began to roll off our backs. Instead of doubting our convictions, we would reflect on how great our life was. We laughed the wisecracks off. 'You do know how that happens, don't you?' Yes! And we're really good at it. Here's one that I told a newspaper reporter, and it ended up in the local paper: Wendy knows, but she won't tell me. Even the most cynical laugh with us." (pg. 2)

I just had to re-post this one because I feel like it perfectly fits and exemplifies what I have been feeling for while now.  There is really so much judgement in this world regarding large families.  If you have more than a couple of children, people wonder what on earth you are doing or why you would subject yourself to such a thing! 

I remember talking to one of my friends before we decided to jump into the world of foster care.  At the time, Tim and I had 4 children, and so did my friend.  I remember saying to her that you could get away with having 4, and people might just look at you and remark how "full" your hands were. But dare to make the leap to 5 or beyond and then people just think you are plain crazy!

It really is true.  And you know what, like most things, having a large family isn't for everyone.  After all, I was an only child and so was my husband for about 13 years until his brother came along. 

Large families are definitely out there, but they are certainly not the norm anymore as they once were many years ago.  We don't need children to help on the farm like we once did, or to help bring in extra income for the family.  So families have gotten smaller.  Having two or three is more commonplace.

And that is all fine and well.  But should the rest of us be thought of as crazy just because we go against the "norm"?  As with everything else, a lot of it is mindset. 

People in our culture unfortunately don't always look at children as a blessing.  Well, they do to a certain point, then having "too many" becomes a burden--
we need a bigger car to fit them all in, we can't go on a vacation at the drop of a hat (forget flying anywhere), we can't go out to eat all the time, the noise levels are reaching the crazy level :) 

Then we start to say, "Well, maybe [insert your number here] is enough."

And, when others go against that cultural "norm" that again is always out there, looming....... when they are crazy enough to profess that they (like me) love the idea of driving a 15 passenger van, or that they think more kids would be nothing but a blessing, they are given weird looks like they certainly must have lost their mind!!

And then the whispers begin.

"Did you hear that she is pregnant AGAIN ?????"
"Did they really want another child???"
"Don't they have enough??"
"How on earth do they feed them all???"
"Are they really adopting another child???"

What I have always, always, always wondered is WHY??  Why do they care so much about what other families choose for their lives?  If it is not impacting them, why do they wonder and talk amongst themselves about the size of someone's family?

Is it because they too wish they could have a larger family but are to afraid to take the leap, to truly follow what GOD wants for their lives and not what society tells us? 

Is it because they value THINGS more than they should, and having more children would mean sacrificing more? 

And not just monitarily either-- is it that they are afraid of sacrificing more "me" time to the cause of raising their children? 

(And I put these thoughts in here as a result of experience not condemnation-- these are all questions I have faced down in my own life when grappling with the thought of having a larger family)

Well, whatever the reason is that people choose to talk and condemn, as the paragraph from the article above states, I will not worry about what others have to say about our family size. After awhile it just rolls off your back.  And if people choose to talk, so be it.  In the words of Romans 12:14 --

"Bless them that persecute you; bless and curse not"

And if you want to look at God's opinion of large families, look no further than Psalm 127 verse 3-5.

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them."

Is having a house full of kids always a bed of roses?  No of course not.  But that could be said for the one or two children a couple has as well.

There are scraped knees, sibling spats, and arguments all the time about who gets the last of the cereal or the last coveted chocolate chip cookie.  (usually Mom wins out on that one!  hee!)

But you know what, that is okay.  I feel like God has equipped me for this challenge.  He will guide my feet along the path of motherhood.  He will guide Tim's feet and bless him as he continues to provide for his family because we are trying our best to do what we feel He has called us to do.  We have had our share of struggles this past year, as many of you know, and God has faithfully lead us through every one.  We have no reason to doubt that He will continue to lead us.  We just have to trust in Him and follow His will.  In everything.  Children included.

So on behalf of all the larger families out there-- please don't condemn us.  Please don't talk behind our backs or call us crazy.  We are not you and vice versa, and that is okay.  After all, everyone out there with only a couple kids would certainly be up in arms if we told you that you were rediculous for only having two right?  Put the shoe on the other foot.  Thanks.  :)


  1. I love the quote! And I love large families! Yours is beautiful!

  2. AMEN AMEN AMEN!!!! We just added #7 (2nd adoption in less than 6 months) so I can totally relate!!! :-)

  3. AMEN!!! I especially loved your last paragraph.