Welcome to our practical Saturday post for large family living.
This is when and where we share some practical things
that have helped us along the way of raising our large family.
These are things I wish I would have known when we were struggling to adjust to a larger family, or at about child #5.
Today, I thought I would recommend a book that has been a great help to me.
Vickie Farris and her daughter, Jayme, wrote a book together titled, “A Mom Just Like You.”
Michael and Vickie Farris have 10 children.
In her book, Vickie talks very practically about how she has learned to survive and thrive
raising and homeschooling ten children.
There are many things that I gleaned from this book the first time I read it,
and I continue to re read it every so often and apply or re apply
practical insights from Vickie to my own life.
The one thing that has stuck with me the most
is the need to find time in every day to relate one on one with each child
as an individual.
as an individual.
Vickie talks in length about how she does this.
I can see the need, especially in large families,
for connecting with each child daily, weekly, and spending special times together as well.
I am reminded of this need as exemplified in the movie “Cheaper by the Dozen”
where quiet Mark gets rather lost in his large family,
overlooked because he is different and not as colorful a personality as his siblings.
We, too, have children who can easily “fly under the radar,”
go unnoticed and therefore,
not get their basic needs for love and affection met
because they don’t demand them like the other children might.
Homeschooling is definitely an advantage in a large family
because there are many more hours in the day to make connections with each child.
Furthermore, there is more opportunity to become aware of what each child is good at.
Brian and I believe that helping each one of our children be successful at something
is of critical value to their character,
whether it be a sport, a talent, or a skill,
the daily discipline to become good at something,
the dedication to persist, overcome challenges,
and commit to an end result has much merit.
We look at each child and try to see what God has given them that they can be good at.
By the time they are 10 or 12, we should have a good idea.
Then, it is our responsibility to enable them to maximize their potential in that area.
Every child is different.
Not every one is going to be athletic, or musical.
Our daughter Rose has a definite creative bone.
When she was younger, we let her explore with drawing and painting.
These were things she was interested in.
Last year she discovered that she really likes to vent her creative streak through photography.
My husband found her a download-able online course,
we bought her a book, she rented some books from the library,
and a friend loaned her his very nice camera.
When she is done with the photography course,
I will see if I can get her a day with a few different professional photographers that I know.
Our son John showed talent in wrestling when he was quite young.
We tried to be the supportive parents, learn the sport,
see him off to good camps and give him whatever helpful experiences we were able.
His diligence to work hard and be the best he could be
has gained him some very excellent virtues that will carry him through life.
When I was growing up, my mom did the same for me with my love of horses.
She did what she could to help me be successful in the show ring.
Those years of hard work and diligence have given me a wealth of helpful training
that I consider is most pertinent to raising children.
I also value the time she took with me in the truck,
pulling the horse trailer all over the state.
Those are good memories.
That is probably another post all together.
It is very helpful for each individual child
to be important and significant in the realm of the family.
but even more so, to also discover their personal style and skill set that God has given them.
This makes parenting all the more challenging, for sure.
As a mama, I am realizing how very short my time with each one is before they are grown,
so what seems like a huge time investment now,
really isn’t all that much in the broader scope of things.
Today, seeing our son John use many of the virtues he learned,
and confidence he gained in wrestling,
in the real world,
tells me it was all worth it.
We have done many things wrong in our parenting,
but this, this is one thing I feel sure that we did right.
When I see a child that has gone unnoticed by his family,
who hasn’t a clue what he is good at,
who feels insignificant because really, he isn’t successful at anything.
I see, especially in young men, a lack of confidence,
insecurity, even a depressed state,
and I feel sorry for the poor fellows.
If only they had had more parental guidance and one on one time,
perhaps they would be the leaders this next generation needs so desperately.