No Kids Allowed – A Movement?

My sweet wife recommended the following article from 4tunate.net:

http://4tunate.net/2011/07/no-kids-allowed-movement-what-are-we-communicating-to-our-children/

I’ve heard of uppity restaurants banning kids.  In fact, the bed and breakfast where Carrie and I always go for our weekend getaways doesn’t allow children.  But a movement?  That has my attention.

I thought I’d pass this along.  I’m not recommending boycotts or writing senators or anything, but rather conversations: If you have a Big Family, and if you like having a Big Family, make sure those around you are jealous 🙂

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Jim Daly: Are Your Kids Overscheduled?

In this post, Jim Daly echoes a meme I’ve seen repeated from time to time in various settings:  Kids’ imaginations need exercise.

http://www.focusonlinecommunities.com/blogs/Finding_Home/2011/07/13/are-your-kids-overscheduled

This post isn’t about big families per-se.  But it may provide some encouragement for Big Families that not only is failing to “keep up with the Joneses” okay, but it may actually be a good thing.  I don’t know if there’s been any supporting research.  But the thought definitely feels like wisdom to me.

Let me know what you think!

Owlhaven: Amazing Grace, From Generation to Generation

I  read Amazing Grace: From Generation to Generation? at Owlhaven today, and I can hardly think of a better article to be the first nugget of wisdom to share.  What an excellent picture of lifelong faith!  The best part, though, is the perspective of the author – a grandchild who watched her grandmother’s love for Jesus grow over decades.

If ever there were a legacy I’d want to leave, this is it.

Welcome!

Welcome to my new blog!

A Blog?  Really?

As the head of a Big Family, my hope is to collect and link to wisdom for managing Big Families in a Christ-honoring way.  If you have a big family, and need some practical help, follow this blog!  (I’ll also be posting as @BigFamilyWisdom on Twitter.)  I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I’m hoping to find those who do.  And as I find solid, practical, and Biblically-consistent advice, I’ll share it with you here.  And if you have any nuggets of wisdom, or if I’ve gotten it wrong, let me know!  I’m doing this as a learning experience.

The Big Problem

My other motivation is more sociological.  Having followed the blog posts and podcasts of one Albert Mohler, I’ve realized that western society is moving toward ever-smaller families.  Even before Dr. Mohler drew my attention to the evidence for such a trend, my wife and I saw the trend in the reactions of others to our growing family:

  • “Three kids?  You’ve got your hands full!”
  • “Are all four of them yours?”
  • “How many jobs does it take to support all five of them?”

Hidden behind these comments, I’ve realized, is a change in the value society places on children, and the constricting role society is allowing children to have in everyday life.

For instance, the many people who say we’ve got our hands full are right at one level – with five young children (our oldest is seven), time can certainly be precious.  (Moving the three “big girls”  to do-it-yourself showers this week was a nice change!)  On the other hand, people who make this remark have never seen a six-year-old change an infant’s diaper.  They have never seen that many children start cleaning when asked to – the first time.  They’ve not seen older siblings pick up and soothe a baby who is crying, or play with the little ones because it’s fun.

People who ask “are all of them yours” are perhaps asking “have you been married before?”  (My wife wants me to answer this question with “That’s what she tells me!”)  Big families are still common where parents split and remarry, especially where single mothers have trouble finding a faithful husband.  And in a society where perpetual frathood is the American Dream for young men, and career mobility is the new American Dream for women, finding two people who want big families in the same room – much less in the same marriage – is increasingly rare.  (I define “Big Family” in two ways:  At least four children; or, Big enough that you get stares everywhere you go.)

With society turning its back on the Big Family option, those of us who find ourselves with Big Families (by our design or God’s providence) have a lot of learning to do. We’re not so much pioneers as people trying to re-learn a lost art form.  And while there is still living memory of Big Family Wisdom from a society that embraced big families, I feel an obligation to collect and preserve that knowledge however I can.

About Me

So who am I?  I’m Phil Jerkins – father of 5 wonderful kids, husband to a beautiful wife, and perpetual novice at honoring God.  And as the head of a big family, I’m seeking Big Family Wisdom.  And as I find it, I’m hoping to share it with others.  Some of this wisdom will come from families like ours – parents from two-children homes who are having to learn as they go.  Other wisdom will come from the living memory of those who’ve lived it – either as a child or as a parent.  And, certainly, I expect a lot of this wisdom to come from the Author of the family, God Himself, Who left an incomplete but wholly sufficient work of wisdom in His word.

Join me in our Big Family journey!