Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How Many is Too Many?

I have two children. That's it. Unless we, as Maddy puts it, "go get some" [and we just may] my girls are all I'm going to have. :) And, honestly, I'm good with it. Let's face it, so is American society. Two is a very socially acceptable number of children, isn't it? Three even, but four kids? Whoa. You're pushing it. Six? Must be Old School Catholic, right?

<Insert crucial conjunction here-----> BUT, what about my friends that have any where from 4-13 children and those that are willing to foster/adopt even more? Maybe the Duggar Family has sparked this discussion more in recent years, maybe it's the "Quiverfull" movement among some Christians, I don't know, but it seems to come up a lot more lately.

Here's the deal. I'm neither from nor likely to have a large family. But a recent conversation has led me to take it upon myself to defend my friends with larger families. Why? Because I have a blog that gives me a forum and I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about it.

What are some of the criticisms large families receive?
How can they afford all those kids? How can they spend quality time with each child, individually? It's not fair for the kids to have so many siblings. Why are they doing it? Why have so many, why not adopt?

-How can they afford all those kids?
     (Disclaimer: I understand there are other situations, but I am writing about my specific friends, here. Not your cousin's brother-in-law that is abusing the welfare system with five children.) I can't speak for every one, but is it possible that some of these people live within or below (gasp!) their means? Is it possible that my friends who love their children with the love of the Lord do not drive new vehicles or live in newly constructed homes? I know they eat a lot of meals at home, which is wonderful on several levels!! I don't know all of their financial situations, but I know their kids are fed, clean, and clothed.

-How can they spend quality time with each child?
    This one is sort of funny to me. I'm sorry, but it is. Take the Duggars, for instance. I've heard the bit about 'there is no way they can spend quality time with their kids every day'. This is nice, because the person saying it is looking out for the interest of the kids, which I'm always for. But, how is this different than both parents working 8-10 hours a day while the children are in the care of others? I'm not criticizing this, I just can't see how one is socially acceptable, but not the other. Also, just like the financial question, the time issue is about priorities. The parents I am thinking of definitely spend time with each of their children...and grown children...and grandchildren! Honestly, it raises the standard for me. I'm being convicted right now! :)

-It's not fair for the kids to have so many siblings.
     Just ask ANY of those siblings if they think it was or is unfair. Dare ya. ;)

-Why are they doing it?
    Again, I can't speak for them, and it's best if I let God's Word do the speaking:

Children are a heritage from the LORD, 
   offspring a reward from him. 
 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior 
   are children born in one’s youth. 
 Blessed is the man 
   whose quiver is full of them. Psalm 127:3-5

Oh, man. I'm sort of feeling that familiar whooping from the Word. I no longer like this post. 
Moving on...

--Why have so many? Why not adopt?
     I understand this, sort of. Again, I think this is directed out of love and concern for children who need families. Listen. I've read James. Took that whoopin', too! What I have found, though, is that these with large families (and lots of folks with smaller families, for that matter) DO take care of orphans. It may be through fostering or adoption, it may be through organizations like Compassion or World Vision, or a local children's home, but they have a heart for the children. Of those that ask this question about adoption, I want to ask, "How many have you adopted?" When I hear the question, "Why so many?", I want to say, "Why not?" or "Which one would you give back?"

I'm not saying I think everyone should have a bunch of children. I'm not saying we shouldn't. I am saying that Christians should not be criticizing one another, but encouraging and praying for one another. Be proud of these parents who are willing to take God at His Word that 'Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him'.


  1. Melissa, I am SERIOUSLY digging this blog. I love reading each and every post. You are so encouraging and a great leader. LOVE YOU!

  2. Rant is a good description lol. Keep the blog going...

  3. Y'all are going to regret encouraging my craziness! Just saying!

  4. Being one of your friends that have a large family, trusting in God is not a option. You either do on everything or not. I believe you can't pick and choose which area you trust him in. As a practicing Catholic we don't use anything to prevent children. Thank you for you blog Melissa. My own step Mother-law told me I had to many children and that was when I only had 4. She passed away before the last two was born.

    1. We have to respect and love parents with different size quivers:) I am enjoying the rantisms!!

    2. "Trusting in God is not an option". Amen, Sister!
      Y'all are great! Thanks for reading this shenanigans, and thanks for posting!

  5. It's easy to miss this implication in the verse you quoted (from, ahem, PSALM :-)) because of the "awwww" factor, but children are weapons. Actually, a better translation of Psalm 127:5 is "blessed is the man WHO FILLS HIS QUIVER with them." Not a big difference, but the emphasis is important. I won't say this is the main reason we continue to have children, but we are well aware of this truth and believe that not only are we raising them to be godly women, but that there is a power bestowed upon them that is quite deadly to our enemy (Psalm 8). Of course, this is why we believe so strongly in having our children in worship with us and not in "children's church" or nursery. When the church sings and worships God, it's not an individual, inward thing (as is often believed). The universal church is an army against Satan and every Sunday we gather the ranks together and hurl deadly fireballs of praise against him. Our songs are for the city - for the world - and our little ones are really the "secret weapon." If you asked me to name my favorite sounds in the world, near the top would be the voices of the little children on Sunday morning, but more specifically, it would be the honking noises that the 7 year old Downs Syndrome boy who sits behind us makes when he sings his heart out every week. It never fails to make me cry, but it makes Satan run for the hills.

    1. 1. Um..it says Psalm..what are you talking about?? ;)
      2. I love the edit feature on these blogs.
      3. I thought the Scripture used the word "blessed", too, but I couldn't find which translation. I agree, I like that better.
      4. Amen. You're little 7 year old boy behind you is making me cry, too! You are a great dad, Brian.

  6. Can I get an Amen sister, I loved it. Convicting opening up to James right now. Great rant or blog, whatever :)