Nov
14
2005

Strength in Numbers

We’re fighting a cold through our family. We woke up Sunday morning all wanting to go to church. The plan was for Dad (me) to bring all the kids and leave Mom home with the twins. When Dad (ha-choo!) came down with a worse cold than the night before, we decided to hang out at home.

At 11:00, we had a worship service in the living room. We sang the songs I knew the chords to (Jehovah Jirah, The Lord of the Dance, This Is the Day, As a Deer Panteth for the Water, and others). The verses we opened to (a total random chance) spoke specifically toward the large family.

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

-Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

While the twins slept, Wendy and I and the kids at home (Cynthia, Lydia, Isaiah, Micah, Noah, Tabitha, Keilah, Hannah and Josiah) meditated on these verses. They related to playing outside and hurting themselves. Was there ever no one to help? They related to cold winter nights or evenings camping. Had any of them never had a sibling to cuddle up with? They related to bullying and teasing. Had they ever felt no one at home to retreat to?

No, these kids don’t know what it is like to be alone. They are a cord of a dozen strands. They will grow up knowing an unbreakable strength in their family that many families seldom experience. This meditation was understood by even Keilah, 4.

There are strong families with fewer kids, I know. My point is not more-kids-the-better. My point is simply this: there is strength in numbers. These verses revolt against the modern idea that too many kids will leave a child unattended and neglected. We laugh at how empty this opinion is! There is hardly an unattended moment, and if Mom and Dad aren’t there for a child, a sibling is close at hand. How can anyone fathom that our children are alone?

There are some that try to fathom it, like Mark Morford of the failing San Fransisco Chronicle, a single man who took potshots at a family of 16 kids in his article, “God Does Not Want 16 Kids.” As if he knows anything about God’s will or anything about the dynamics of large families, Mr. Morford said,

I have a friend who used to co-babysit (yes, it required two sitters) for a family of 10 kids, and she reports that they were, almost without fail, manic and hyper and bewildered and attention deprived in the worst way, half of them addicted to prescription meds to calm their neglected nerves and the other half bound for years of therapy due to complete loss of having the slightest clue as to who they actually were, lost in the family crowd, just another blank, needy face at the table. Is this the guaranteed affliction for every child of very large families? Of course not. But I’m guessing it’s more common than you imagine. (underscores mine)

“I have a friend…” is a pathetic argument. Other than the family he read about, Mr. Morford has not one personal story to share about a large family other than this “friend” who “co-babysat” for a large family. Funny, Mr. Morford preaches tolerance for homosexuals and affection for the culture of pornography…but families with too many children, they’re “lost.”

Readers of the San Fransisco Chronicle (there aren’t many left…circulation dropped 17 percent last year) may enjoy “manic and hyper and bewildered” ad hominem attacks on families of which they have absolutely no understanding. My children know nothing of the depravity cited above. The argument that children from large families are deprived and neglected is an empty argument, one grasping for a truth that isn’t there, having to rely on anecdotal evidence to make a point.

About Chris & Wendy Jeub

The Jeub Family live in Monument, Colorado. They encourage couples to love God and love one another, building an atmosphere of love in their homes.

  • Kallie

    I had read that San Francisco article also. I was annoyed especially at the fact that it was titled, “God Does Not Want 16 Kids” but in the article does he have any real, concrete, Scriptural evidence? Of course not.
    Thanks so much for sharing your family’s stories on the website. I have been married six months and my husband and I look forward to as many children that God will bless us with. Your family is extremely encouraging to us!