Monday, September 9, 2013

I Have A Lot of Children

(I actually have 9 children now - December 2014)

It occurred to me this week, though I suppose it may have occurred already to you, that I have a lot of children.
Sometimes it takes a while for things to “sink in” or “hit home” with me. Traumatic events and massive changes seem to rattle some a little more climactically than they do with me. The emotional shock is often something left for some time after the circumstance when I have more time to be emotional, if ever.
Yet this weekend, all of the sudden, it hit me. I have 8 children. 8! I know: you knew this. And though we often do several dozen head counts each time we go to the park or to the store, I had never really taken a head count emotionally.
To me, these are my people, and we live life together, loving each other, and “it is what it is”. But “what it is” is something incredibly odd. Perhaps you already knew this. Maybe all the people in my age group looking at me oddly, and asking my odd questions had never really hit home. Politely, I just answer the question, make fun of Jaclyn, and then move on with the conversation. I think, however, all of these odd looks and comments have finally reached the boiling point required to escape my ignorance of the reality of our situation. Nobody does this anymore. By “this” I mean… well I don’t really know what I mean. Is it “have a lot of kids”? Is it “really old fashioned morals”? Is it “believes in a literal person called God”? What is it that makes us so odd that, though I don’t consider Jaclyn and I to be the “loser” type, we are some kind of modern wonder of today’s family social structure world?
(Ironically) Oddly enough, we look at others and think (and say behind their back), “That doesn’t make any sense. Why live that way? Why do that to yourself and your children?” But this week it hit home with me that people have been looking at us in a glazed-eyed wonder for years saying the same thing as we walk away. Perhaps you clicked “follow” on this blog for the hope of an answer to just such a question.
I guess, now, I would, if I were not as I am, be also so curious to understand that which I currently am. I am odd! But how did this happen? How did having lots of kids, old fashioned morals, and investing yourself in “home” become such a second class waste of time life?
Certainly, we do some things that are not newly odd.
We homeschool our children. This week’s epiphany of oddness did not reveal that fact to me. I know homeschooling is socially unacceptable madness. But give it time. As the homeschooling age that currently gains momentum in this part of the world begins to produce the kind of fruit it can, and with social media available, there being no way to hide the talent, I believe people will come around to the madness that is our instant domestic educational reform. Scoff and laugh, but my kids at 9 years old will have already devoured more pages of literature than most university aged publicly educated young people. Let’s just see how oddness may work greatness.
Believing the Bible is not newly odd either. I know that most people don’t think that God knows what He’s talking about. (Advantage me) For a good several generations, the majority, though often religious, look to the Bible for ideas but not principles or truth. What it says God says is kind of like a reference to the mental position prior to modernization and industrialization. But the Bible is not just a revelation of how people used to think, it’s a revelation of how you think, and will think. It is a revelation of potential, both good and bad, of all mankind. It is a revelation of history repeating, and it is a predicting of such events continuing to unfold exactly as they do, both politically, and domestically, within your community, social relationships, and even so acutely, within your soul. Though it be odd, and not unusually odd to believe the Bible, having tasted the accuracy of the revelation, we gladly except this oddness and the oddness of living out that belief. We also accept the odd results. Sadly, people would rather trudge through life in the ditch to prove the Bible wrong than take the easy, well-paved high road of accepting it right.
I understand that conservative morals are not newly odd. For a hundred years “do what seems right in your eyes” has been the policy of our society. Divorce rate is astoundingly high compared to any other society in history. Suicide rate is frighteningly obvious to prove the point. Deaths and high cost medical treatment by-way of alcohol and drug relation, both in traffic and tragic circumstances have gotten to the point where our medical and judicial economy budgets for their existence. Yet even as you read those thoughts your love for the drunken experience drives you to hate the idea of an alcohol-free unselfish lifestyle. I’m not surprised. It’s odd and I knew it was odd when I decided to live this way decades ago.
But what shocked me as I realized this week that I had (in most people’s opinion) too many children was the oddity that is unselfish love. Love is now odd. The love of many has waxed so cold. I came to the realization that the oddity that we have become is an archaic symbol of a time when people spent themselves for anything other than themselves.
Don’t get me wrong, my wife and I have plenty of time for “us”. Having eight children means we have a pretty strict established bedtime for them. Day to day, lots of people in this home are all getting to do lots of things that they enjoy and that others here enjoy. But the overall philosophy of the home is, oddly, not about satisfying one’s self.
People often ask, “How DO you DO it!?” This question, odd as it may be, is asked us more often than I could even rate. Daily? Probably. So how do we do it? That is what is so odd today. It is so removed from the blueprint of life in this age that people have literally no idea how we do it. My wife and I have often said though, “If they were in this situation they would figure out the answer to that question.” But truthfully, what hit me this week is that people today wouldn’t let themselves get into this situation. We have so incorporated the philosophy of being our own god that most would just play God and abort, or abandon, or abolish. We have finally gotten to the place where even the baring of our children is about us. “I want to experience parenting”. “I want to have a boy and a girl”. I.. I… I… want… want… want. If you have such a philosophy governing the actions of your life, you are not fit to be a parent, nor a “contributing” member of society for that matter.
What hit me so directly between the eyes of late is not that I have so many kids and no one else seems to in our day, but why no one else wants to. If I were to promote this lifestyle as a great choice that is very fulfilling to one’s self, I may have some takers that would copy my example. But if I were to tell people that it is work, and it will cost you, and you will miss out on some pleasures for self in order to give the best you can to your children, people would simply say, “That’s not for me.” You’re probably right.
To be fair, we didn’t sit down and by some supernatural paternal instinct evolve into ultra parents who wanted to patriarch a small nation. Technically, we did not choose this lifestyle. God chose it for us. We went for number 2 and got 3 at once. It’s a formula that goes something like 1 + 3 = minivan, 3 bedroom house, overtime and personal debt.
By the way, if you already have four, eight isn’t really that much different. Because once you get to the point that you have to invest yourself to succeed as a home, adding more children just makes it more fun. Though, I must caution about the grocery bill…
I’m not ranting to blame people for not copying our “be fruitful and multiply” accidental efforts. I am shocked, literally shocked, by the inability of parents to sacrifice their own personal enjoyment for the sake of their children. That is what hit me this week. Parents shock me.
I feel bad for their kids. I feel bad for kids that won’t have siblings. I feel bad for kids that don’t have an example in their life of faith. I feel bad for children with no inheritance, not because of necessity, but because of excessiveness. I feel a shocked distain for parents that dump their kids off weekend after weekend while they blow their money on booz and partying. I feel bad for children who never see Mom and Dad together because they are working too much so that they can spend so much. I feel bad for those children as they grow and copy that habit, and waste away their youth and mind, risking themselves for a thrill. I feel bad for kids that never get to spend a Friday night playing a board game with Mom and Dad.
I feel a shocking understanding this week and it finally hit me why you don’t want a big family. It finally sunk in why we are so odd in this age.
I have a lot of children, and they have me. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
- Scott
“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:”
- Psalms 127:3a,5a

1 comment:

  1. Amen, brother. We share your thoughts and understanding of the situation. We're expecting number 9 and we are still sane and normal (we think). God bless from another filling quiver.


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