Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Does a Large Family = Large Hassles???

July 26, 2005
By: L.A. Kohl
(published in the Wed., Aug. 3 edition of the "Bullseye")
Many people in today’s society question why anyone would want to have a large family. I’ve heard that the average American family has something like 1.7 children, so obviously the majority have decided that there are too many disadvantages to having lots of kids. But you know what? By matter of default, we’ve discovered that there are also several advantages that perhaps many haven’t considered.

Here’s a big plus from my perspective…I can count on one hand the number of times I have heard my children actually say, “I’m bored."

Isn’t that funny? I often hear moms talking about how summertime is so trying, because they have to constantly figure out ways to keep their child entertained and out from underfoot. It is rarely that way around here.

With lots of siblings, all of these creative juices come flowing from lots of different perspectives, and they are always coming up with something fun to try. The other day I caught some of them together brainstorming story ideas. They had notebooks and pencils in hand, and were throwing out ideas. Someone would either nix the idea, or expound on it and then they’d start writing it down. Kind of like a movie studio, story-boarding session; and it occupied them for days.

Speaking of movies…they love making their own. There are enough of them to participate that they can become hobbits, Jedi knights, pirates, or princesses – depending on the mood of the day. One of them runs the video cam and “directs” it, while the others dramatize it all. I love watching their imaginations work, and it seems like the more of them there are, the more freely the ideas flow.

Another advantage that I’m personally enjoying…we’ve had our own built in babysitters for about four years now. Some people may think that’s unfair to the older siblings, making them perform “child care” duties, but we make an effort not to overuse that advantage. Besides, it’s great experience for the older ones, and there are enough of them to share in the duty that I’ve never yet heard one of them complain about having to watch their little brother and sisters. (I think secretly that most of them are still little girls at heart, and they enjoy the excuse to occasionally play dolls with a little sister, or sword fight with the little brother.) And besides, what teenager doesn’t love the excuse to be “in charge” for awhile?!

Another benefit is the fact that they always have a friend around. Now I’d be kidding you to say that they are all “best buds” and they get along marvelously all the time. Hardly! But more often than not, the laughter and “bantering” of friends outweigh the heated words of disagreeing siblings. We often tell them that friends will come and go in life – but sisters will ALWAYS be sisters, so do all you can to maintain relationships that you will cherish for a lifetime.

That’s where I’ll finish up with the advantages…relationship. We are so thankful to have all these individuals, with all their idiosyncrasies and unique personalities, together in our family. We cherish the relationships we have with our children, and can’t imagine how we could ever get along without any one of them. And just think about ten or twenty years down the road, when they all have families of their own – we’ll be filled to overflowing with relationships and relations. How fun!

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