I've recently been reading a book series by an author named Angie Sage. I'm currently on the second book. I'm really enjoying the series, except for one thing:
The author's portrayal of large families.
In this series, the main character is the seventh son of a seventh son. So, the main character's family is quite large. Here's the issue I have:
The family is totally disfunctional. Four of the boys are now living in the woods like savages, one has turned to the dark side, and only two actually spend time with their parents.
Seriously? I understand if you don't want to have to write about nine characters at a time, but that seems a bit extreme.
For those of you who are not from big families, we're not really that crazy.
Grig's family had seven kids.
There were ten children in my family.
We are really close. When I was growing up, there was the occasional sibling argument, but we all knew that we loved each other and we listened to each other. As the older siblings grew older, we were able to help out our parents by taking care of our younger siblings. If I told my younger siblings to do something, they generally did it. They sometimes griped about it, but they listened to me.
I think a lot of people can't imagine having a big family because they think of all those little kids running around. What a lot of people don't remember is that little kids don't stay little forever, and most people don't have six children at once. (That does happen occasionally, and it's difficult, but doable. I knew a family that had sextuplets, and they are doing just fine.) Usually, by the time you have six or seven children, the older ones can now help with the younger ones.
My parents taught me responsibility. I loved children and I still do! I would babysit other people's children, because I couldn't get enough of them. Not all older siblings are like that, some just like their own siblings, and some are tired of little kids, but I really liked having a lot of babies at my house.
Usually, in order for a large family to work, the parents have to have some pretty strict guidelines. That doesn't mean that they're cruel, it just means that they set boundaries and stick with them. As we grew older and were able to govern ourselves, we helped the younger children learn those boundaries too. In some ways, our parent's work load increased as the number of their children increased, but in other ways, the work got easier. They now had more people to help get the house dirty, but they also had more people to help clean it up. We didn't always, but we usually were pretty good.
I loved having a big family. When you're inside of it, it doesn't really feel like there's that many people. It just feels like the perfect amount. I wouldn't trade any of my siblings for anything. I loved having so many friends that I could generally count on.
It wasn't always perfect. Sometimes there was fighting and sometimes I still felt lonely, but as we've all grown older, we've also grown closer. It's so much fun for Kevin to have cousins to play with.
So are big families crazy? I guess that depends a little on how the kids are raised. However, I would say no. At least no more crazier than any family...and we're all kind of a little crazy.
Do we want to have a big family like our parents? Definitely. Maybe not quite as big, but Kevin is great! Why wouldn't I want him to have brothers and sisters?