Strength in Numbers

Small Group Discussion

We were reminded the other day of a lesson in our small group from church quite some time ago. We had a worship service in the living room. This small group consisted of three families (heh, 20+ kids). The verses we read from spoke to the idea of strength in numbers.

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

We meditated on these verses. They related to people (perhaps children) playing outside and hurting themselves. Was there really no one to help? Our littler kids 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?

The children in our small group discussion didn’t know what it was like to be alone. They are a cord of 20+ strands. They will grow up knowing an unbreakable strength in their family that many families seldom experience. This meditation was understood by even the 4-year-olds.

Point taken: there is strength in numbers. Families included. Still, opinions are common that too many kids will leave a child unattended or neglected. It’s so not the case in our house. It’s hard to imagine this to be true in any large family.

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? We see strength in this kind of security, in these numbers.

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.

  • Valerie S.

    I think the problem that “society” has with this issue with large families is when it seems as if the children are raising themselves – the older children acting as surrogate parents to the younger ones.

    • Anonymous

      I think this perspective is sometimes misunderstood. We hang with a lot of other large families, and we don’t see older children treated like “surrogate parents.” Critics see large families working together and assess, “Gee, the older children didn’t get to live the secluded, self-absorbed life I got to live,” then judge that they must be secretly miserable. Reality is different.

      Interesting perspective, though. We may post on it in the future.

      • Marie

        I agree. I think it also has a lot to do with the environment people grow up in, a culture where new life is a blessing and a joy, or a burden. Our first 4 kids were born very close in age, (oldest was not yet 5 when youngest was born) then there was a 5 year gap before our youngest daughter was born. Our older kids were so excited to find out a new sibling was on the way. I think one of the sweetest things that I will always remember was when my then 8 year old son made a point to talk to her through my tummy every night so that she would recognize his voice after she was born. He did not miss a night! They fought over holding her the very first day, and still fight over who gets her hugs, who takes her for a walk, who helps her eat yogurt, who will read her a book, you name it, now that she is a toddler. They never look at it as “raising her” or a chore. They feel that they are lucky, because they have grown up in a home where they are valued and know we are blessed by having them, and therefore she is a blessing to us all as well.

    • Tgates

      I think it’s just more obvious is larger families that everyone pitches in and helps. It’s easier in smaller families for the mom and dad to do most if not all of the work. Attention is drawn to larger families anyway, and when everyone is seen helping, it comes across to those that don’t understand as having to be surrogates to each other. People simply don’t understand.

  • Tgates

    Two of our four children (all 6 and under) were not at home for a little while yesterday. My husband and I talked about how lonely it was with only two of them here. While we DO love to spend time alone with each of them, it’s not necessary to do so all of the time in order for them to be happy and healthy. They need more than just mom and dad; they need the companionship of each other as well.

    • Anonymous

      Great insight! This reminds me of Chapter 8 in “Love in the House.” We speak to this very thing.

  • Mwashburn2103

    I agree with this! I have one 4 year old daughter! She is my only child. She was a wonderful surprise to my husband and I. We got pregnant with her shortly after we got married. So, since she wasn’t quite planned but, was a wonderful blessing. We decided that we would wait a few year before we had another. This last year I have realized how much she needs another brother or sister. I grew up with 2 brothers and 3 sisters. So I pretty much always had someone to play with. when my daughter plays alon it makes me very sad. This last year we have been sorta of trying to have another. And praying for another baby. My daughter would make such an awesome big sister. She loves babies. And kids all different ages. After only having one child for 4 years, it makes me miss. And realize why larger families are so great. And I hope I am blessed with many more children.