Life with the Brady Bunch


In this year of the pandemic, our emotional health gets a boost when we count positive outcomes. One of those outcomes has been families spending more time together. Many of us might be interacting the way we did before the media took over lives…and that’s a good thing.

With that in mind, I am re-writing an article I penned for a newspaper several years ago.

Having raised a large family, I say from experience that having a sizable brood affords one benefits which are unknown to those with micro-size families. Like having your own volleyball team when you go to reunions or picnics. Or getting the group discount at museums and tourist attractions. And there is usually someone around to play a board game or work a puzzle in the evening when you’re not going anywhere.

The child with many siblings learns to appreciate privileges instead of expecting what others may consider rights. Simple things like eating out become a treat. Speaking of the pre-pandemic era, our family experienced lots of free entertainment on the rare occasions when we dined inside at a restaurant. People would count us as we walked by, and then spill iced tea down their necks as they openly gawked at us.

In addition, the child in a large family develops other virtues such as learning to be unselfish and flexible. Daily occurrences of “Hurry up; I gotta go!” accompanied by fists pounding on the bathroom door become great conditioners for college dorm life.

Want a child to develop a great imagination? Just factor in a limited budget for toys and they will invent the most creative activities. Our children played grocery store with cardboard boxes, canned goods from my pantry, and a toy cash register from the thrift store. When they became bored with that, they dragged their bikes down the basement steps and played traffic, riding in circles around the stairs.

One of our middle children summed it up nicely in a college essay. Here is a portion:

“The lack of money can also teach a child how to budget 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.”

So, today I am counting the blessings of rearing a large family. Don’t tell them this, but THEY have taught ME more than I have taught them.

How about you? Any thoughts on large families? We value your comments below.