If you know me well at all, you know that I am a Laura Ingraham fan. As in die hard. As in don’t call me between the hours of 9 a.m. and noon because I will be listening to her show. I’m hoping for a podcast subscription for Christmas so I can listen to her whenever I want.
After having said that, I’m embarrassed to admit that I finally went and bought her book, Power to the People. I originally borrowed it from the library, but agreed with so much of what she said that I wanted to underline every other sentence; somehow I don’t think the library would have looked kindly on me doing that to their copy.
In her first chapter, “Power to the Family”, she mentions how large families in America are now frowned upon, and how ironic it is when others look at large families and say, “How selfish!” She mentions,
“These days, having such a large family earns you strange glances, shocked reactions, and castigations from environmentalists and anti-population growth wackos. Somehow, ‘being fruitful and multiplying’ is considered self-indulgent by those who put a high value on attaining a certain lifestyle. (These people consider it selfish for adults to devote themselves to supporting a large family, but it is apparently unselfish to spend your money on a lifestyle made up of frequent and exotic vacations, state-of-the-art gadgets, spa treatments, golf lessons, club memberships, boarding schools, and fancy summer camps. If you can follow that logic, please explain it to me.)”
As a mother of seven and hopefully a few more via foster care, I have heard it all.
- You have how many children???
- How could you possibly give each child the attention they need?
- How do you afford it?
- Do you ever get any time for yourself?
- How can you possible have a family that size in a small home?
- If your family wasn’t so big, you could afford a larger home. (Ok, someone needs to explain the logic to me on that one. If my family was smaller, why would I need a larger home?)
- Don’t you know how babies are made? (I particularly enjoy this one since 3 of my children are clearly adopted. Either that, or others think I get around quite a bit.) Just to encourage their incredulity, I inform nosy busy-bodies that my 7 children have 4 different fathers!
My all time favorite, however, is :
- “Isn’t adoption expensive? I could never afford it!”
This comment usually comes from a person who is driving a $50K SUV. My favorite reply? “It costs a whole lot less than that car you’re driving.”
Most of these comments don’t bother me that much. Their life, their business; my life, my business. Not only that, they don’t know what they’re missing. As my son in Texas said, “I love big families! More siblings to spend eternity with!” 🙂 Please don’t think I’m judging you if your family is smaller than mine. Everyone has their own path in life to follow. You may be single or have only one child, and that may be what is best for you and your life, or perhaps is the plan that God has chosen for you at this time whether you are thrilled with the idea or not.
I admit to being bothered recently, however by the comment of a friend. She asked me why on earth I would be interested in having any more children and when I told her that I was following the Lord’s plan for my life, her reply was, “Just tell the Lord ‘no’ “. In my life, that is not an option. I have seen starving and dying children in Haiti. I’ve seen orphanages filled with 500 children in China. That is no way to live, and so when God asked me to make a difference for the orphans in the world, I gladly answered His call. I’ve found when I submit my will to His, that I am happier, life is better, and I have a joy that only following His plan for my life can bring. To be honest, I was shocked when she said what she did, because having returned from a third world country as a missionary, I thought her heart would be changed; that she would have a stronger desire to leave the world a little bit better than she found it. Among the adoptive community, I have yet to see a parent who has been to a third world country who didn’t wish they could “bring them all home.” People claim adoption is an addiction. I disagree. I think it draws families again and again because they see that they truly can change the world one life at a time.
So what is wrong with having a large family? Other than the nonsense of global warming and using up the earth’s resources, (I believe, and science shows there truly is enough and to spare if utilized correctly), why does a large family bother others?
Laura Ingraham states:
The modern mind does not view families as the fundamental building block of a free society but rather a threat to individual liberty. That’s because service to others is viewed as enslaving, while service to self is the highest ideal. We know the opposite is true…
…families are actually quite liberating. The stronger your family is, the more independent you can be. A family that sticks together and helps each other is more likely to survive economic downturns, less likely to need government-provided health care, and less likely to need day care. Its children will be better prepared for school, and its grandparents will be better prepared for retirement. At every stage of life, its members will have more freedom — and be less dependent on government or other large institutions — than people who lack family support. So if we really want to empower the average person, the best thing we can do is strengthen families.
Large families, small families…it doesn’t matter as long as we are focused on strengthening family relationships. As I have seen traditional family values wane in popularity, I would add that to empower not only the average person, but also America, the best thing we can do is strengthen the home and family.