“I Like Having Lots of Siblings Because…”

kidsIt was June. My phone had a new message on it from my daughter. She was away on mission in India. I gathered the children and plugged the phone into the speaker to listen.

I immediately regretted playing it out loud.

There was no voice, only rustling around. Then we heard shrieking and screaming. It sounded like she was in a terrible, wild place, sending a message but unable to speak.

Then we remembered: Her phone is here. The baby called us from it. The scary place is our house.

This is life in a big family.

But now that the July vacation is over (nine kids 2,000 miles in a 15-passenger van) and we are getting ready for school  (two at Benedictine College, two at the Benedictine high school, four in home school, one underfoot) we  11 Hoopeses are as close as we have ever been, so I thought it the ideal time to ask the question: “What do you like about being in a large family?”

Here are the answers I got, lightly edited. (Disclaimer: This post is in no way meant to denigrate the experience of families of other sizes!)

Why do you like being in a large family?

“I like being in a big family because you always have someone to play with.”

“I like being in a big family because the inside family jokes aren’t always about you.”

“I like our family because if you don’t get along with one sibling, there are always lots of others to try.”

“In a large family, there are always plenty of people to help you clean up.”

“It’s good because if you pretend to build a spaceship or some other vehicle, there are always people to help you.”

one candle“In a big family you are forced to live more generously.”

“You have to find yourself in the chaos – you are forced to make your voice heard above the din.”

“I love watching movies about big, happy families. You watch it and think about how fun a big family would be and then you remember: I also have a big family! And then your big family is really great for a few hours.”

“I love having a really great roommate.”

“It’s good to have a big family, because when you go to a museum or a zoo, you get to hear more thoughts about the significance of what you’re seeing.”

“Having a big family makes you more open-minded about other people.”

“In a big family, someone always has your back.”

large family“Being in a big family makes you feel more confident in who you are – because you are validated by your siblings, young and old.”

“When you go somewhere in public, you feel proud and strong.”

“Being in a big family means cooking for many people and driving large vehicles is not intimidating.”

“It forces you to live more practically and simply.”

“It’s just more fun, because interacting with people beats being entertained by a screen any day.”

“Would you rather live in a small family?” I asked. Several hands shot up beside grinning faces. Then a small voice answered: “Sometimes I would. But I would still want all my brothers and sisters to be here if I did.”


Categories:Culture Family Marriage Pro-Life Youth

  • beth

    To your lovely wife April: I have only 8 and I.am.so.tired. But just so in love and thankful that the Lord doesn’t hold it against me…

  • http://www.shadedcorners.wordpress.com Mary Claire

    When I tell people that I’m from a family of 8, people always say “Your poor mother!” And I’m always like, “You mean my EPIC mother?”
    My big ol’ family is such an absolute joy. They’re truly life-long friends :)

  • Liliana Barkes

    If you got a big family and someone picks on you, you will have a zillion kids to fall on that person!

  • Servus Parvulorum

    When I was young, I always wanted to have lots of children, but unfortunately I didn’t find a girl-friend who relished this prospect. However, now I am a priest working in a developing country, and I currently have about 550! I am so glad that God found a way to give me a BIG family in the end.

  • Debbie Emerson

    I grew up in a family of 7 siblings including my self. I loved it! I grewup in the fifties so large families were more exceptable then, but I do remember some people having negative comments about it sometimes. I never understood why they thought it was a problem. I can relate to all the above comments of living in a large family. Although my family is not without problems when I look back on my childhood it
    brings me joy.

    • Anthony Clements

      I am the 12th of 14 children. My youngest sister was born in 1981. I would not trade it for the world. There were good and challenging times but well worth it. There was always someone to hang out with, play with, talk to, get in trouble with etc. I love them all. I cannot imagine life without each and every one of my brothers and sisters. I now have 5 children of my own so far. Who knows how many we will have??



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