- Family and Parenting
Are There Advantages to Having a Large Family?
Do you come from a large family?
Relationships are high priority
After my husband and I had four children, friends of ours who had seven said, "Oh, you are just playing house!" We couldn't believe our ears, but by the time we had seven of our own, we looked at others who had less and said the same thing.
My husband is the oldest of twelve children, I am third of nine. We both wanted a large family when we married and new that there were definitely advantages. For starters, priorities are automatic. It quickly becomes obvious what is most important. Relationships are definitely number one. Every person is important in their own way.
We do it together
With a large family, there is no time for idleness, selfishness, or loneliness. There is work to be done and it gets done more quickly when all work together. All must pull their share, no one can be left out. Big families eat, work, play, and pray together.
Everyone shares, that is the only way for things to work. There is never enough to have too much. Frugality and thrift are engendered, as there is little money for expensive possessions. My husband and I sat down when our oldest was a baby and figured out what it would take to have a child every year and a half for eighteen years. What would it cost for the medical, food, clothing, and housing to raise them? When we finished our calculations, we looked at each other and said, "This is impossible. There is no way we can do it!" Then we wadded up the piece of paper and threw it away.
We make do without, if necessary
We had four children a year and a half apart, and the Lord blessed us to have plenty for each one. The bills were paid, we had housing, we were fed and clothed, and we lived peaceably together. Although the last three were much further apart, we never were in want.
There were times when we didn't know where the money would come from, but it always came. One day, one of the children walked into the kitchen and handed me some money. I asked where they got it from. They said that someone came to the door and handed it to them. We had many benefactors, and we praised God for each of them.
At one point, when all seven of our children were at home, we had a house with a basement, main floor, and second floor. There was a bathroom on each floor, laundry rooms in both the main floor and the basement, and enough bedrooms for everyone to be semi-private. In fact, we even took in foster children for a couple of years.
An interesting thing happened. Each time a new child came into our home, we loved them as our own, and our children did the same. They had their problems, and we prayed that they would be able to return to their families. After each one left, we counted our blessings and were very grateful that we "only" had seven children!
Life lessons learned quickly
Of course, there are tax advantages to having a large family. In fact, it is much easier to qualify for food stamps and government grants. But these are not what makes having a large family advantageous. The advantages are the life lessons learned.
Choices and consequences happen every day and it doesn't take long to learn what works and what doesn't. Husband and wife must work together and put the welfare of the family high on the priority list.
Children are seen as gifts from God, and not inconveniences. They are welcomed, loved, and cared for. It is easier to see how we all fit into the family of God, and come to earth as his children. We understand much more clearly how he feels about us, as we feel the same about our own children.
Can a person be miserable coming from a large family? Of course! There is nothing to say that having a large family creates happiness! Happiness is a choice, no matter what type of family a person comes from. But having a large family teaches a person that happiness does not come from possessions, money, fame, or glory.
Happiness comes from choosing to treat others as you would want to be treated. It comes from giving, sacrificing, loving, and cherishing those who are closest to you. In short, the big family advantage is simply this: living, laughing, loving, and helping others do the same!