Life with the Brady Bunch


This guest post was written by our daughter, Jen, when she was in college several years ago. Enjoy the perspective of one who grew up as the middle child in a large family. Oh, and you might congratulate her; she was married just three days ago.

Did you ever sit by yourself in a fast-food restaurant, staring at a bag of cold fries, and think it’s a shame they’re going to be wasted because you’re too full to eat them?

On the other hand, have you ever had eight pairs of eyes stare longingly at your food, hoping you’ll soon have your fill and pass down the leftovers?

Or did you ever have the privilege of inserting a straw into a large drink with eight other backwash contributors and hoping one of the other eight straws won’t go up your nostrils? These are just a few of the typical eating-out experiences which come with being in a large family.

There are so many advantages to having a large family that I think everyone should have one if possible. Some of these advantages include having enough kids to supply your own baseball team, always having somebody to trade off household chores with, and getting the group discount when you go to museums.

Growing up in a large family supplies a person with plenty of entertainment and, when going out in public, a certain degree of notoriety.

Once it became necessary for all nine of us to pack into a Chevy Cavalier to go out to dinner. I’m sure we presented a funny picture as all seven children clambered out of the back seat of the two-door car, pressing Mom, in the front seat, to the floorboards in an interesting pretzel shape.

As we filed into the formal restaurant, we were met with furtive glances and could see people’s lips moving as they counted us.

This is where it became necessary to have a good sense of humor. We all laughed when we glanced over to see a woman openly gawking at us with her jaw dropped, absently insert her drinking straw up her nose as she went for a sip of tea.

As soon as we all recovered, her seat partner, also openly staring, dumped her water down the front of her neck, obviously missing the intended space.

Besides providing a good sense of humor, having a large family also develops other virtues. It teaches a person to be unselfish, giving and flexible, and gives one the ability to get along with a variety of other personalities. Because large families often have less money, they learn to enlarge their imaginations and develop their creativity. I have often pitied children in small families who are surrounded by Fisher-Price toys that do all their thinking for them.

When playing church, we kids always had a full congregation for our stairway/sanctuary. Keeping ourselves busy with activities such as playing church, setting up pretend “shops” in our basement, and building imaginary cabins in the woods behind our house, always gave Mom extra time for sewing and other household jobs. This also gave her time to take naps, because she was always pregnant with the next child.

You may think that a person shouldn’t have a large family unless he has a way to support them. Although I agree with this logic to an extent, I think people should be open to the fact that God will provide the money when the need arises. In other words, if you wait until you have the money for a large family, it probably won’t happen. Why would God provide money for children who haven’t arrived yet?

The lack of funds can also teach a child a very valuable lesson about budgeting money wisely. Having to wear so many hand-me-down clothes and shoes gives a person a greater sense of appreciation when she does receive something new. It teaches a child to take care of things to make them last longer.

Some may say that it places unnecessary responsibility on children when they are required to look after younger siblings. I can say from personal experience that I’m glad I helped raise my younger siblings. It’s given me a head start on motherhood.

I would say that overall, coming from a large family definitely has more advantages that disadvantages. Though sometimes the only privacy a person gets is when she’s in the bathroom, having to get along with so many people better prepares one for meeting the challenges of adulthood.

All in all, coming from a large family makes a person well rounded. So, if you were unfortunate enough to come from a small family, determine to have a large one yourself. Then you can begin looking forward to making pleasant memories of your own.