Despite my cranky reception to the New York Times article, I will have to admit the fruits have been quite nice. I have gotten so many nice emails and comments, praising the LOK sites in general, and embracing large families in particular. So, while the majority of the world may still bristle at the idea of families with more than 2 kids, there are a good number of people who feel it is a beautiful thing–or at the minimum that it’s a personal choice that shouldn’t be infringed on. “To each their own.”
One email in particular really struck me, from a 22 year old who was already thinking ahead to the future. The thought of raising any child in this world was a scary thought. However, after a lot of thought and reflection, he realized that raising a large family might be easier, since it would “provide emotional and moral support within itself much more so than a family with fewer children.” He then went on to note that Kurt Vonnegut suggested in his book, Slapstick, that a larger family could offer a great sense of belonging and identity.
It was kinda refreshing to hear the younger generation (yes, I sound so old at the ripe age of 38) viewing large families so objectively. Thing is, I *do* believe I have had an easier time with a large family. Now, I may not quite feel that way when I’m doing 10 loads of laundry over a weekend, but from the simple point of trying to raise kind, caring, and loving children –who will in turn take those qualities into adulthood–having a large family has been an amazing blessing.
I have been constantly told over and over that my kids show compassion far beyond that of their peers. They are said to be very thoughtful and polite. They do not bully others. In their classes, they are not only leaders, but helpers. One teacher was amazed that my 3 year old son was the first one in her preschool class to offer to assist another child with a task, on his own, without prompting. People will praise my parenting, but I almost always defer to the fact that being raised in a large family has taught my children how to be respectful, kind, and work with each other. Now, I’m not saying my kids are perfect. We have far too many “screaming and kicking” moments for me to delude myself on that. Not to mention, I don’t think large families have cornered the market on raising good kids. However, in general, I do believe this is one of the many benefits of a large family.
After reading this email, it got me to thinking of all the benefits that being in a large family have for children. That reminded me of one of my favorite articles. I think it better sums it up than I could and I think is worth a read: Advantages of a Large Family
***Cross-posted on the 4 or More blog***