“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

20 thoughts on ““I Like Having Lots of Siblings Because…”

  1. Cathy Rivard says:

    I am #1 of 15 children born to our parents. We grew up in a time when large families were common. We were fortunate to grow up on a farm. Mom had me when she was 22 and my baby brother was born when she was 46. When they were married, mom and dad dedicated their marriage to God and promised to gratefully accept any children they might have. We learned so many valuable lessons; how to work together, how to deal with conflict, how to hold onto our Faith in hard times, to be thankful for what we had, the advantages of hard work and the satisfaction of a job well done. Our parents lived to be 85 yrs. old, married for 62 years old and to see all of their children as adults gainfully employed. They both died last summer (dad after a lengthy illness and mom suddenly) 9 weeks apart. While we miss them very much, a part of them lives on in each of us. We are so grateful that we have each other to share memories of the past, share feelings and our family gatherings (32 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren. We were blessed indeed. There were many times when I was raising my 5 children, I didn’t know how mom did it. My mantra was “if mom could do it, I can”. She and dad put their Faith in God. We believe that they are reaping their heavenly reward for their faithfulness. As our family increased there were those who avoided my parents and whispered behind their backs. My parents knew that we will all stand before our Lord and answer for the way we lived our lives. God bless you!

  2. Sheri says:

    Just for grins, I’d love to hear their answers to, “What do you *dislike* about having a big family?” It would be interesting from the kids’ perspectives.

  3. Therese D says:

    I grew up in a family of 13 children. (Before they got married, Mom and Dad decided to accept each child as a gift from God and God was very generous.!) I could relate to almost every one of the comments, especially the one about being able to be mad at someone and still have people to play with. My husband and I had only two sons and their experience is so different from mine, Wish we could have had more.

  4. Jenn C. says:

    So sorry that you’ve had such a rough time… Caring for little ones is such a lonely road sometimes, but you’re not alone! Wish all of our large families could have one big neighborhood together….Crazy but fun!

  5. holly says:

    I sooooo needed this today. I went to sleep in tears last night… we have 11 children…7 currently living at home with us. the 7th just moved back home with us this weekend and our neighbor has been bashing us to the neighborhood…TOO Many people in that house. I would put it down to a cranky man, but he is not the first neighbor who has complained. Since we adopted last, neighbors in both states we have lived in have given us negative feedback. At a time when everyone and their brother is espousing their right to whatever, I guess everyone has rights except the large family… We have lived in two upper scale communities in two different cities but the feedback is always the same…you are driving down the property value. I am very careful about noise, even keeping them inside when it is getting close to the evening, watching noise, toys left outside, etc. Doesn’t seem to matter. I just find people feel like they have a right to comment on how many children people have regardless of the circumstances…I loved this article and I long for the day when I can just be happy with our large family…

    1. Therese D says:

      Holly, I’m sorry for your experience. We had a neighbor who sent around a petition saying that we needed to leave the neighborhood, even though my folks owned our five acres. Also Mom got to know the gentleman from the health department as a result of the neighbor’s complaints. The first time, he looked into things, but after that he’d just come to the door to say hello and left. Some people just aren’t happy and take it out on others. Hang in there and say a prayer for them.

  6. Roxane R says:

    Sanity is not guaranteed by two or nine children. Everyday is a challenge when raising children.we do what we have to for the ones we love. I have four boys and would love more,however each pregnancy has brought some kind of challenge :preterm labor, high blood pressure ,bed rest with all ,weak cervix since number 2 which requires surgery.Knowing this I still let God be in control.
    I am a mother of four blessings a college graduate and choose to be home raising my sons.

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