On today’s agenda is a response to a posting that “Large Families on Purpose” (www.LargeFamiliesOnPurpose.com) shared on Facebook which was a repost of a very negative post regarding families with more than two children. In fairness I have included the link to (and text from) this negative article (see end of my post) but really wondering if the author should (or deserves to) receive the extra traffic. (Also please note I have provided editorial services and removed the offensive language in the original blog post by substituting **** where applicable. Hence you may prefer this version.)
The blog begins with “Parents with four or more kids befuddle me.”
Okay “befuddle”… in looking this up on internet the definition of befuddled is to “to confuse; perplex.” I am going to go with “confuse” as this is the most rational statement that can be made out of the entire post. Some basic assumptions are made that are totally irrational not to mention completely incorrect. “I can only assume that after parents have three offspring, they lose their minds”…not true. The writer goes on to suggest that families with more than three offspring plan future offspring by factoring in a dependence on the help of the existing children to parent future siblings. Again…not true.
The blog post is illustrated with a photo of the Duggar family, small surprise. The icon of large families in America is once again taking a hit for those of us with larger family numbers just not as famous (TLC show 19 Kids and Counting).
This author (Amanda Janik) again demonstrates more confusion as she tosses around many negative assessments and judgments about larger families while noting in her diatribe some uncertainty “though I am in no way saying that I have any idea what ‘right’ looks like.” Sadly, no, you definitely do not know what even close to “right” looks like.
The same writer skims the surface in trying to second-guess “motives” behind a family whose size is larger than what she believes in (which is just replacing herself and her hubby on the planet). Sadly, the motives offered are off the wall. However, being written by someone whose experience is with only two children (presumably young ones… a work in progress) perhaps forgivable.
Here are some real answers to this writer’s (Amanda Janik’s ) questions (followed by one or two more light-hearted answers in italics):
Why do people have more than two children?
Because some people really love children and all that entails (I am one of those) and happily welcome offspring into their lives. This is not without a bonus to society as a future workforce is being raised who’s tax contributions will ensure society’s (including Amanda’s) future retirement years are comfortable. Also, in having several children within a family allows a great support system once the parents pass on. Children from large families have each other once the parents are deceased. This is a lasting lifelong gift of support and kinship for the entire family purchased by the parent’s selfless focus on family and people rather than things and affluence.
Other less serious answers include:
- Some of us can’t count…did not know we had more than we were “supposed” to~
- Homegrown help is way cheaper than hiring anyone~
- So those with only two children can feel superior and comment~
How do people afford more than two children?
(Note further down an explanation of “afford”)
By making do with the resources available, sharing what is at hand, reusing/recycling and trusting in providence to provide. By the way many of us work very hard to accomplish this. Some parents of large families work two jobs and/or willingly give up what you (Amanda) might not want to forfeit… i.e. regular vacations, eating out, time alone, household help, trips to the spa…the list is endless. Our children are not screaming for the latest in fashion as they are usually content with hand-me-downs (the most “green” plan out there) and the odd new item. While the notion of less than brand name new clothing, private lessons, yearly vacations and regularly dining out as a lifestyle may abhor you, the child raised in this environment actually benefits from developing an emotional intelligence. This emotional IQ predisposes them to successfully cope regardless of the situation.
Other less serious answers include:
- Once we gave up drinking, gambling, smoking and recreational drugs we needed to find some way to spend the extra funds…
- We can’t afford it and you may be sure it is coming out of your pocket somewhere…dig a little deeper and you will discover this and be even more outraged
Also note… who is to say YOU (the one asking the question) can “afford” the two you have? For starters those of us with larger than average families would never think of asking you this…not because we believe you can “afford” the children you have but out of respect for you, your family’s privacy and your freedom to choose what is best for you.
Well let’s start with what does “afford” mean?
Well the two definitions listed on the online dictionary are:
1. Have enough money to pay for.
2. Have (a certain amount of something, esp. money or time) available or to spare.
Ability to financially provide…hmmn….okay what does that actually look like? Who really knows the answer? Is there in fact a finite correct answer? Not really from what I can understand and research. Affordability boils down to what risks and perks you can’t live with or without. Many people take affordability risks daily without so much as a second thought to the contrary. Houses, cars are bought and sold often in a lifetime as are gadgets after gadgets bought brand new…not to mention vacations. A certain percentage of the population continues to declare bankruptcy (this includes people with no children) regardless of the state of the economy. Finance is an odd thing. Today you can have plenty, tomorrow lose it all and in another few years be solvent again. With children there is only a limited time you can conceive them, once you think you can safely “afford” children… it might be biologically too late to have them.
Afford is a very funny thing as it is all relative. The people you are so dismissive of may be able to better afford the brood they have than you are able to afford the two kids you do. The reason for this is the larger family will have different priorities and have made cuts that you might not be willing to do or comfortable making and living with. True, you may not approve of those cuts or you may consider children raised in an environment embracing these decisions disadvantaged but again this is only relative to your personal view.
Depending on what era you were born in or what circumstances your parents struggled at the time of your birth, by your own standard your parents may not have been able to “afford” having had you. Imagine if some of the great innovators of this world never got to this planet because their parents were told they could not “afford” them…and we as a world had to wait longer (or maybe forever) for the gifts sent to our universe. A world were Insulin has yet to be discovered (also note Sir Frederick Banting who discovered Insulin was the youngest of five kids), the telephone is unheard of….Apple was still only a fruit and Microsoft referred to a finely knit sweater because these gifts to the world were deemed as unaffordable by their parents (who lived in harsher times that we do today).
Here are a few questions for those who think badly of families larger than the national average:
Why is it that it is often the folks with one or two kids (and often no kids) that ask all these personal questions?
None of us with larger families would ever be so disrespectful as to ask you or anyone else questions as personal as why you did (or did not) have children or comment on how few (or none) you have chosen to have.
The resource issue is a global concern. However children are still the only real answer to tomorrow’s future. Without children there is no future. Gifts of research and innovation that have forever changed this world all entered this planet as babies; often born to those who could least “afford” them.
In Canada, in the absence of real population growth (families with more than 1.5 kids) within only a few years two-thirds of the population will be senior citizens requiring support and health care services on a system without a young enough population to support the ageing demographic. Massive immigration will be the only way to provide these services to the ageing population while allowing for enough of an income tax base from a working population to adequately provide these services and benefits.
Children from larger families are notorious for being well-adjusted and focused on others having developed the ability to cope with many variables within their environment growing up. In terms of future success the children from larger families are more forgiving in social and work environments, than their peers from smaller families. Upbringing in a larger family ensures exposure to diverse personalities positioning these kids to effectively manage the turbulence their peers and co-worker relationships can potentially pose. This ability to cope with variables in one’s environment translates to high probability of lifelong success regardless of circumstances.
The most valuable commodity any child can have is the ability and upbringing to “cope”, and to “cope” well with all that life can throw at you. If there is one thing a child from a large family learns at an early age is the ability to cope with a variety of dynamics, make some personal sacrifices for the common good and to focus on others (as opposed to self) instead of things. Since birth kids from bigger families have learned by living to give people the understanding and space they need within a relationship at play, work or within family.
Those with large families work hard to provide for their children and often do without many things others of you on the sidelines might deem as “necessities.” At the end of the day it is a personal matter the number of children you have (or plan to) and should be respected as such. Take a leaf out of the book from those of us with larger families…life is always a precious gift. Respect others and their personal family decisions by minding your own business.
As for me… (?) … I have to admit to being a little biased as I have nine beautiful kids (little goats) and a grandchild.
The Garden Goat (The Kid-Keeper)
P.S. Before you make any “assessment” about me…let me fill you in… I work fulltime for an outside employer (have for years), have my own business part-time. I have no nanny or household help whatsoever (never have), do most (if not all) of the housework. I have made many of the harder choices I mentioned earlier as necessary to adequately keep 9 little goats on an average income.
The following is the post (www.LargeFamiliesOnPurpose.com) shared on Facebook which was a repost of a very negative post (http://pair-ranting.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/kids-kids-andmore-kids-for-real.html) as follows:
Kids, Kids and…More Kids? For Real?
Posted by Amanda Janik
Parents with four or more kids befuddle me.
I can only assume that after parents have three offspring, they lose their minds. When they’re mulling over whether or not to have another, dad says to mom “well, Billy can help with the baby” (i.e. ALL younger kids). Billy, as you may have guessed, is the theoretical Oldest Child in this theoretical Family. They say this because they remember what it’s like to have a newborn baby and are scared as **** to repeat the work part of that nonsense because, lets face it – it was really hard. The kind of hard that only a little kid can be tricked into doing.
This is why I stopped at two kids. I say calling it good after 2 was a simple matter of replacing only myself and their father in terms of resource consumption, but really it’s because I know my own limitations. I have a set amount of patience and energy doled out to me each morning, and more than two kids would cause some spillage. Also, I don’t personally believe in using siblings as part-time parents. I mean, sure, aside from the whole “overpopulation/draining resources” issue, big families can probably be fun, if done right – though I am in no way saying that I have any idea what ‘right’ looks like.
Seriously. What the ****? Ew.
Back in the olden days people had a ****load of kids because they needed help on the farm, or wanted to increase their particular religion’s chances at winning…something. I don’t know what because I’m not religious and don’t have time to go read the bible right now. (I assume its votes they’re after – the only support I’m seeing being thrown toward that reknob Romney are from the nutty-faithful people I’m sort of acquainted with). So why do non-religious people have a ton of kids in the today-times? It’s not like the majority of us are farmers, amiright? Trust me, if you’re sitting here reading this blog post right now, you’re not a farmer. Not the kind who needs 8 kids to go milk the cows, anyway.
I decided to do a tiny bit of research – I know…I hate it too. I found a blog which goes into all the joys of having a million kids and wearing long skirts for God or something. Anyway, I’m not here to pick on these people, but I did find something interesting, on which I developed a theory. The ages of their kids are 13, 12 (FOUR YEAR BREAK) 8, 6, 5, 3, 2 ,1(x2). Ummm, so here’s my theory: Had a couple of kids, some years went by, these two looked at each other once the youngest was getting more independent and thought “oh ****, we have nothing to talk about! No diapers to change, no mashed peas up to scrub off the walls, no gibberish to translate…we’d better have another baby! Or seven!”
That’s just my theory. What do I know?
Here’s another thing – having kids is expensive! I only have two and already struggle with the whole ‘food and clothing’ thing. Luckily they have no desire whatsoever to do any sort of enrichment activities. No sports, no music lessons, none of that interests them – for the most part. My daughter started asking about ballet lessons a while ago, but there was really no way for me to swing them anyway. I opted to just distract her with my secret and impressive collection of toilet paper rolls for arts and crafts. She loves those things.
So if I can barely manage two kids, how do normal, not-rich people support, say…four. Or six. Or EIGHT?? And why, for the love of god, WHY?? I would love some input here. I have assumptions that I keep to myself – like they’re trying to fill some void by constantly giving themselves the gift of sweet baby pure adoration and dependence; they’re trying to do right what their parents did ‘wrong’ via their children; they’re in a self-imposed competition with someone they’re jealous of; they legitimately like children and want to have a big family because they love kids more than they love non genetically-modified food, or the idea of having a functioning planet to house them and theirs for centuries to come…and they know Wal Mart will always have their back, so why not?
I guess that’s sounding a little judgy there, isn’t it? I’ve been around some very loving, respectful, fun big families, where the siblings all get along and cooperate with one another and seem to really like each other. (Okay, I’ve only actually witnessed this once). But that doesn’t mean I want to try to recreate that, or that I think they couldn’t have achieved that same nirvana with about 4 or 5 less kids.
This one is going to keep me guessing, I can tell. I have nothing personally invested in this question, and I’m open to hearing your thoughts, if for no other reason than I’m curious and bored.
Wait. I’m bored…this gives me an idea….
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