Feb
15
2011

Good for You, but Not for Me

Parade

Our town of Monument hosts a 1-hour kids’ bike parade before the real parade on the 4th of July. Approximately 500 kids wrap their bikes and trikes in red, white and blue tissue paper and walk through the parade route. The Jeubs carved out their own section waiting for the parade to start, and I naturally started a conversation with a dad right behind us.

“Man, you have how many kids?” he laughed. “Good for you but not for me!” And then he swore.

He didn’t realize how rude the comment was in front of my children (or me, for that matter). This dad for whatever reason wanted to make it audibly known that he would never be so crazy as to have so many children. (Hint: we’re crazy!)

My children heard it, and they noticed my simple smile in response to the rude comment. The Jeub Family is often misunderstood by folks who don’t know the joy of a large family, and this wasn’t any different. What was heartbreaking was that this father said this in front of his one child. A young boy, maybe 5, seated in a neatly decorated battery-operated toy Jeep. He showed no response. He didn’t look to be enjoying himself much. The parade started soon after and we marched through the Kiddy Parade. It didn’t take 30 seconds for my kids (or myself) to forget this short conversation and return to having a blast on the 4th of July.

Is a large family good for some and not for others? Who knows. Perhaps this father I met briefly in the parade was meant to have only one child. What I do know is this: the joy the Jeub kids have with one another is a joy that knows very little boredom or isolation. A life with many children is a rich life, full of blessing and adventure, full of opportunities, and a great parade to walk in life.

(Note: Every once in a while we adapt an older post into a new one. We try not to make a habit of it. This was adapted from a 2005 article.)

About Chris Jeub

Chris is the father of 16 children, busily running the family businesses and learning the depths of love along the way.

  • Angela Beltran

    I will never understand why people feel the need to say anything. When they open thier mouth they often put themselves down and thier children and they never realize it. I love all my children , all soon to be 8. And even as I come to the end in this pregnancy I hope that God sees fit to give me many more. I guess that makes Me CRAZY to ;). It a great club don’t you think?

  • Margaret

    I’d say if it’s God doing the deciding, the number is good, whether it’s large or small.

    However, the attitude behind comments like that doesn’t generally go along with people leaving that part of their life up to the Lord.

    For right now, and as long as God sees fit, my three is a good sized family for us. If he adds more, that number will be good too.

  • Tgates

    Large families are very often misunderstood. We have four, soon to be five, and we get TONS of comments. I personally don’t think large families are for everyone because everyone doesn’t have the relationship with God that they should have. If a couple’s attitude is that a couple of children are a necessity in order to be like everyone else, then having more would just be terrible for the children. If a couple is not willing to sacrifice being normal, living for God and following His will for their lives, and to raise their children in a way that is pleasing to Him, then I don’t think they should have more; they probably shouldn’t have any!

  • Rslillis

    we have 5 boys ages 6 and under. we get alot of misunderstood comments, but we also get some that are wonderful, like “what blessings!” or “wow how wonderful!”

    my kids are almost always with me, we do just about everything as a family, and so where ever we go we do get noticed. the kids notice the comments, and most of the time smile or say something cute like “we LOVE having so many brothers!”

    sometimes we talk about the comments, because i always try to put a positive spin on it most comments make the kids think they are just getting extra attention, but there are times when it bothers them. if something very rude is said we make a point to talk to the kids about it later, out of earshot of the person who said it. (or their own child(ren) as the case may be.)

    i think the most hurtful comment i have ever received wasn’t so much hurtful to me and my children but to the lady’s daughter who was standing next to her. the comment was “your crazy. you LIKE being a mom that much? I HATE it. i can’t wait till SHE is 18 and moved out my house. only ONE more year and I’m DONE!”
    i had never met this lady before, and not again since but it was immediately apparent the hurt on her daughter’s face. I wanted to scream at that lady and tell her to look at her daughter and how much that hurt her. i wanted to hug the poor girl, and tell her how much she is loved by God. i wanted to befriend her, but there was no time for as quickly as the hurt crossed her face, anger took it’s place. she stormed off followed by her mother. i never saw them again.

    those types of comments are awful.

    another type that’s pretty bad is when this one nurse at the ER when my son had stitches was complaining about “those large families” that “take up resources” and how “selfish” they are for having more than 3 children. it made me so upset i wanted to puke, but the sweet doctor who was stitching my son’s chin looked right at her and said “what a terrible attitude you have toward children. our country has really gone down hill because of the way children are seen and treated. it’s such a shame”

  • Toeknee1031

    We are proud of our seven kids…I like to say I feel like snow white sometimes, LOL! What bugs me, is when people find out we have two sets of twins and they ask “didn’t you learn after the first set?” Seriously? What is there to learn??? I learned that I could handle 3 kids a year and under, still in diapers, none walking, and nursing two of them, and NOT go CRAZY! So…we added a few more to join enjoy our fun. No one is ‘missing out’ due to finances, (another point often brought up by others). I don’t pay no attention to them anymore. I guess I’ve got a luxury suite in the pent house of the loony bin, and I am so totally loving it here!

  • Luvmyjje

    I think large families are wonderful. I only have 4 but for us, I believe our quiver is full. We thought we were only having 3 until God sent us another. I believe having children is like any other decision in life. Pray for God’s will for you as a family…I truly admire parents with many kids and wonder how they do it. I don’t believe it’s for everyone, but definately for some and it’s such an example and blessing to me to see those families thrive as well as the small families that thrive and follow after and please God.

  • Lori B

    I love the article, but I really want to comment on that picture. That is one of the cutest and most adorable pictures of them. I love the scrunched up face – she made me smile :)

  • Jenna

    Maybe we should ask them things like: You don’t like gifts?? (Asked in a shocked voice, with a smile) Then say as you are walking away….”who doesn’t like gifts?”

    Jeub family you are a model family, and an inspiration, I love learning from you and watching how you go through life. Thank you for sharing it all with us!!

  • Jchilous

    I’m sorry y’all had to deal with that, but I’m sure you probably get it all the time so it rolls right off of you. I only have two right now and I get comments because they are 10 months apart. I can’t imagine what will happen if we have another one soon, but I’m sure it will be less than positive.

    If there’s anything I’ve learnned from you all, as I am desiring a large family and feel we are already on our way there- it is that what people say and what God puts in your heart are completely separate things. People are flawed, say things out of ignorace, we are all guilty of it. If God had not put this in my heart, I would also think y’all are crazy! I’ve been conditioned that anything more than 3 children is “a handful”, that’s just our culture. Nevermind being 22 and married 3 years with 2 babies already. We are in the crazy club right there with you :)

    Just continue to love your Blessings, you are a beautiful and blessed family with a strong testimony and voice that contradicts what the world believes. At the end of the day, your children are your strongest testimony and legacy. They seem to have more joy and love than many children who have no siblings or the standard 1 or 2. Just keep on keepin on!

    • Sarah

      I’m 22 as well (hubby is 25). We have three children and another on the way. May we both continue to pray for God’s will to be done and against the spirit of fear as our families grow!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=799259836 Amy Woolley Pederson

    We have 11, with #12 on the way. In our years as parents we have heard a plethora of comments, most probably similar to what the rest of your hear.

    When we walk around with our family, we are an open book. We cannot quietly slip into a restaurant or store. People watch us and stare, often counting as we walk by. We don’t mind and it has given us many opportunities to share our belief that children are blessings with those we meet.

    One morning I was in a large warehouse store with my kids. We were walking up an aisle with the kids either holding onto the cart or in a line beside it. Nobody was misbehaving and since we were just starting our shopping, everybody was cheerful. A clerk walked up the aisle and said, with a sigh, huge eyes and dropped shoulders, “Ugggh. Aren’t you glad they’re not all yours?” I politely smiled and said, “they are all mine.”

    I feel sorry for that woman that her life is full of burden rather than blessing.

  • Kris10rn

    Hope you had a great Birthday Chris!
    I just finished the book on Sunday. WHAT A BLESSING! First, I have to say THANK YOU THANK YOU for not listening or giving into your fears and hesitation with publishing your book. I read Love in the House last year and the chapters about Loving your Children hit home then and were powerfully convicting.

    You included some of the same messages in your new book and it again, HIT HOME! So many times I have felt isolated, discouraged, and hopeless with my 1 “Tommy” child. This week I have prayed about MY attitude towards him. I have resolved to make changes within ME to love him better, the way he needs and hears love.

    I have read portions of these chapters with my husband and just cried and cried. We both feel a new “calling” to really instill love in our house. It isn’t that we aren’t loving, but I think you know what I mean. I intend to pour out love instead of getting easily angered and keeping records of wrongs.

    We have 4 kiddos. God has been pounding on my heart to have more, but I have been listening to my fears, hesitations (what will my family members say?), and our culture that says “quit now while you’re ahead!” NO MORE LISTENING TO THE WORLD. We have so much joy with our children now. We talk about it all the time. So why not love more?

    Good job on the book. I just wanted to encourage you that you have impacted my heart and life (and hubby’s too since he is currently reading it). I am so glad you no longer listen to what the world is telling you but what God has to say about the subject.

    Just had to say THANKS!

    • Anonymous

      Kris, your encouragement is awesome! Thank you for your kind words.

  • Hailey

    I dont have any children, and when I tell people I want to have 5 or more children, they look at me like Im crazy. So I can only imagine the comments I would get if I actually did have 5 or more kids.

  • Amanda Brown

    We have 4 children, and I still get a comment every week I do shopping…man how many kids do you have, or the ever popular sheesh I’m glad I’m not paying for that!!!! (funny enough usually from the older folks)
    The sad thing is usually its not a “full” shop. I makes you feel a little withdrawn as where we live here in a small town (Coastal Victoria, Australia) where most families only have 2 kids.
    I agree the hardest thing is when they are rude and hurtful in front of your children.
    I have learned to grow a tougher skin and once or twice i have even played a joke and said to their “gee is that a week or fortnight’s shopping” i mentioned…”oh no mate, its only a day or 2 days worth!
    When they look in shock I said yeah, I have 6 kids at home and (patted my tummy) another 3 on the way. We sure do appreciate free babysitters kindly :)
    My friend and I burst into laughing as they took off!

  • Roddma

    More children will not solve the world’s problems. Jesus Christ had no kids. So are you claiming to be holier than Him? The childless are treated with disdain even in the 21st century. It is they who are misunderstood. Not all are fit to be parents. So you say everyone should have children regardless if they want to or able to take care of them? Obviously Andrea Yates was unable to care for her children but Rusty ignored doc’s warnings. If the no birth control advocates ruled, these things would happen more often. I agree with the Dad

  • RM

    I grew up in a family of eight and we got comments often. Now my husband and i had three in less than a year and we get comments. Honestly I have to think long and hard to find a time that the comment was truly negative. People just make conversation and when it is something different from what they are used to they are bound to comment on that. When someone says “I don’t know how you do it!” i just tell them the truth and say that i honestly don’t know either!

    Someone mentioned that they learned they could have three kids one and under and not go crazy… Well, thanks to my personality i literally learned the opposite. I know now that if i have more children i WILL be the next Andrea Yates. So i am one of those who will say things like “i am looking forward to when all the children are out of the house when I’m 42!”. That doesn’t mean i love my children less or enjoy children in general less or that i think they are not great gifts and blessings. They totally are! But i look forward to every stage of life, and i do really look forward to the time when my husband and i will have more time to nurture our love for each other.

    I’m glad you can all encourage each other, but this reveling in being “crazy” has me kind of confused. Everyone has some way they seem crazy to others. And, honestly, having many children is not the norm, butneither is it way out there in crazy land. We get twice as many people expecting us to have more children than anything else. It feels like a way to put others down, like crazy is just a more acceptable way of saying better. And of course you think it is better – everyone makes their choices because they believe they are the right ones!

  • http://twitter.com/maverickjester The Maverick Jester

    You chose to have a larger than normal number of children. Because you have done something unusual, people are going to make comments to you. That is life. I only have four kids and people make unasked for comments to me also. If this is the worst comment that you have received than you are extremely lucky.

    You seem to be making the assumption that the man’s child is bored or isolated without siblings. Perhaps that was not your intent in your statement. You did state that you felt sorry for the child because his father was vocal about not desiring any children. I am not certain why this would cause any pain to the child. The dad did not say that he regretted his child’s birth.

    It sounds as if you made as many assumptions and judgments about the other father as he did about you.

  • Marah

    Yeah there are some people in the world that don’t want to have tons of kids or any kids at all. Get over it. Just worry about making your kids responsible, respectful, hard working, functioning adults of society and get of your high horse that we all should be parents and breed like rabbits.

  • Donald E Flood

    Of course, all Protestant denominations prior to 1920 held that artificial contraception was an intrinsic evil. The Anglicans were the first to make the “rare exception,” and then, a few years later, the flood gates opened, first, for them, and then, for most Protestant denominations. The Roman Catholic Church still holds to the ancient teaching of the Church and the blessings of large families. Sadly, far too Catholics are following the Magisterium of the Church on this matter.