waxing 'family size' philosophic.

with four kids, we are bordering on 'big family' classification.  not 'huge family,' but we're almost to 'big family.'  maybe we're there already.  i don't know.  i'll have to consult the handbook.  but in thinking through a lot of our culture's concerns about big families, and thinking through my (limited, i realize) experience having more kids than average, one thing that has been popping up in my head lately is how W-R-O-N-G our culture is about (at least) one thing.

one of the well-meaning concerns i hear a lot is that kids in big families will get lost in the shuffle of the birth order and sheer family girth.  therefore, families should be smaller, right?  for the good of the children?  in the past, i've rolled my eyes at this and wondered if people ever assume that, for example, kids shouldn't even bother going to school because they might get lost in the girth of the classroom.  is it possible, and maybe even likely in some scenarios?  yeah.  is the conclusion accurate?  no.  the proper conclusion is that, if education for all children really is worth the cost, you just get creative and find ways around the inconveniences and difficulties.  you don't just throw up your hands and say the kids are better off if they're not even thrown in the mix in the first place.

but lately, i've been realizing that even this is an incomplete understanding of how god has designed the family.  i've been watching laurelai, and i have felt so vicariously lucky for her.  my word, when atticus was a baby, he only had todd and me giving him love and attention and smooches and cuddles.  he only got two hearts to fall in love with him every day.  but laurelai?  she gets five.

and herein lies the untruth of the not-enough-attention argument:  that there is only the capacity for 'X amount' of attention to be given in a home, and the more kids there are to share it, the less each gets individually.  but the truth of the matter is that god not only expands a parent's capacity for love and attention and affection with the birth of each child, making that fictional 'X amount' grow exponentially within them, but he also provides more physical sources through which it comes.

how blessed is my fourth-born!  and how blessed are all my kids, that not only do they have lots of people loving them every day, but lots of people to love.  their hearts are getting bigger and bigger to hold the fullness of everything god has given them.  and i think of how much we all would have missed out on if we stopped at two kids, or three.  what might we miss out on if we stop at four?

i'm not saying every family fits a single mold.  families are unique, just like the individuals in each family are unique.  but what i am saying is that we lose out when we're deceived into thinking the way the world does, and making decisions based on cultural wisdom.

just something to noodle on this fine tuesday morning.


todd said...

Nailed it.

I could not agree MORE.

lauren said...

this is great. like a column. two enthusiast thumbs up, fine holiday fun.

Jessica said...

This totally ties into my latest post about the parable of the sower. Like TOTALLY. If the seed is love, only love can reap an exponential harvest - like 30, 60, or 100-fold. WOW.

Heather said...