Get the exclusive (almost) Weekly Digest.


    Little Family in Big Style

    January 17, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    Si and I tend to run our family in a bit of a “large-family” style. A lot of this started when we were still living in LA county, and I “accidently” {by God’s grace!} became a mom of the stay-at-home kind. We lived in an apartment that was over the detached garage belonging to a much larger house. In this larger house lived our landlord with his wife, his three adopted daughters, and his three adopted sons.

    Most Friday evenings, this couple would invite two other couples, with all of their children, over for an evening meal and time spent together. One of these couples had seven daughters, while the other had three boys and a girl and had only stopped having children because of a tragic emergency hysterectomy early in life. All of this is to say that those who had huge influence over us early in our parenting years {and we had much admiration for them}, were of the “large-family” mindset.

    As time has gone on, and we have decided to homeschool our children, we have once again come in contact with many large families. Part of this is because homeschooling is {or at least, used to be} part of a bigger picture of living a counter-cultural life of faith. And having a large family is about as counter-cultural as one can get in the antinatalist society we have built.

    When I was younger, I found large families slightly intriguing…and slightly odd! We had the typical family of four {2 parents, 2 kids, 1 dog}. As I got older, I considered the parents in large families to be either completely unable to control themselves, or just really weird.

    There are pretty much three different religions in our society that produce large families, with three different reasons for doing so. Take, for instance, the Mormons. Bearing children is somehow connected to a woman’s salvation, and women bear “spirit babies” in eternity. Using birth control therefore has some sort of adverse affect on salvation. {My friend Kristen knows so much more about this than me that I hardly feel I have a right to comment except that I want to use it for the sake of comparison.} At the very least, Mormon women have many chidren out of a combination of expectation and duty.

    In Catholicism, it is a sin to use birth control, and so abstaining from it is done out of fear {the Law brings about fear, remember}.

    But in these Christian families, there is a belief that children are a blessing, a reward from the Lord, and also that they can trust in God to provide for their needs. Abstaining from birth control in this situation is an act of faith in God and love and appreciation for His blessings.

    Si and I have been debating the birth control issue on and off for years {we have had a conviction against the use of The Pill from the very beginning}. What we have begun to realize in recent months is that what divides us from those Christian big families is not that we are superior to them in that we have more common sense. It is that in the areas that they have much faith, we have little. Where they have much trust, we need more. Where they are brave, we are mere cowards.

    This does not mean that I expect all married couples to have large families. In fact, some of can’t, and, due to my required C-sections, we probably can’t. But I do think that next time one sees a Christian couple at one’s church, seated next to their six or seven or eight beautiful children, one shouldn’t shake one’s head with disdain, but rather nod a bit in respect.

    Get the (almost) weekly digest!

    Weekly encouragement, direct to your inbox, (almost) every Saturday.

    Powered by ConvertKit

    No Comments

    Leave a Reply