Wednesday, January 18, 2012

All My Children

More out of necessity than desire, I loaded up all the kids and went to Walmart last week to get some groceries and household supplies. This was my first trip to the grocery store with all four of my children. The trip actually went surprisingly well (much better than this one)--in large part due to the fact that my husband and I have really been cracking down on training and first-time obedience. There just isn't leeway now for them to have, um, "freedom of expression" in the store. For things to go smoothly (and for me to stay relatively pleasant), they need to stay right next to me. (More on all of this in another post).

When we reached checkout, the cashier asked increduously, "Are these all your children?"

After runnning some come-back lines in my head ("No, I rented them for the day", "No, I found them in the toy section. They're very real looking, aren't they? Do you want to scan their UPC?", or "No, I don't know whose they are. They just came up and started following me through the store."), I answered his question without any comeback. "Yep, they're all mine." I think four children is more on the small end of large families, so I was surprised he would ask that, but oh well!

Even though more than two children per family may not be all that popular (or smiled upon) in culture today, I thought it would be fun to look at other famous large families, both past and present. (I was asked to do a devotion for a baby shower a few weeks ago, and this is what I did).
  • Ben Franklin—one of 17 children 
  • Mel Gibson—fathered 8 children (7 with his wife, one with his then-girlfriend)
  • Author Danielle Steel--7 children, and she would write during the night so she did not need to take away family time for her work
  • Sen. Rick Santorum—7 children
  • The Von Trapp family-- 10
  • George H.W. and Barbara Bush family—6
  • George Washington--one of 13
  • Susanna Wesley (mother of Charles Wesley and John Wesley)—19 (many died during childhood)
  • Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie—6 children
  • Comedian Eddie Murphy—8 children
  • Actress Jane Seymour—6
  • Actor Kirk Cameron—6
  • Frank Gilbreth and Lillian Gilbreth (the "Cheaper by the Dozen" family)—12
  • Celine Dion—youngest of 14
  • Actor Mark Walhburg—youngest of 9
  • Jim Bob & Michelle Dugar—19
  • Justice Antonin Scalia—9 (5 boys, four girls)
  • Joseph and Rose Kennedy (parents of J.F.K.) 9 (4 boys, 5 girls)
Of course, there are many others. I am blessed to live in a community where many families have embraced the biblical view of children and have many children. When your friends also have lots of kids, you don't feel so alone. It feels like the norm!
“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,

The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed…” (Psalm 127:3-5, NASB)

The bottom line, whether you have one or ten, is that you are blessed and you need not be ashamed!

(linked to Raising Homemakers)


  1. Thank you for this! I needed this encouragement after my trip to Sam's this evening with my four children (2 months-4 1/2 years old). An older lady gave me a nasty look and shook her head after looking over my brood of rather well-behaved children. I've felt crummy about her attitude all night. So grateful you posted this and linked up to raising homemakers! Thank you.

  2. Fun post! You are so wise to avoid the temptation of a smart comeback. I realized not long ago that while it feels good to my sarcastic soul to come back with something witty my children are their listening to my reaction. I do not want them to learn to make others feel stupid with their words I want them to hear from my lips over and over how I truly view them as a blessing from the Lord. I typically get, "Boy, you have your hands full." To which I STOP, put a smile on my face and respond, "I sure do! I am very blessed!" I should probably rephrase it to say "I sure do, I am blessed beyond what I deserve!"

  3. Thank you for this post! I read it the other day and all that I remembered of it was "my husband and I have really been cracking down on training and first-time obedience". I have been pondering that ever since. (I like what you have said about large families too, it just didn't stick in my mind.) My question is this, how have you cracked down on training? We are really struggling with my 3.5 yo son with respect to listening and obeying the first time and I don't know where to start to change that.

  4. Thanks for the comments! I tried to comment back last week & for some reason, it kept freezing up.
    Andrea, sorry that happened to you. Hope you're feeling better. Here is a post I wrote awhile back about a really bad trip I had to Sam's with my kids, and what I hope I remember from it years from now:

    @TheMomma, thanks for the kind words. I agree it is important to come up with something positive to say to that comment. Here is an old post I wrote on the topic, if you'd like to read it when you get a chance.

    Heidi, did you see I emailed you a response to your question? Let me know if it didn't go through. Hope it helps!