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In Defense Of Large Families

Years ago it wasn’t uncommon for families to have lots of children. My sister-in-law’s mom, Dorothy Paull of Summer Shade, is the “baby” of 12 children. My son’s assistant basketball coach, Scott Chapman, has six brothers and four sisters. “I think that the best thing about having a large family is the fact that you really do appreciate the little things in life—not much is taken for granted,” says Chapman.

I think large families are wonderful, and my husband and I enjoy having five children, but I know not everyone agrees with me. I also understand the genuine concerns about overpopulation. But it seems to me that the luxuries of living a life have become more appealing than the blessings of creating a life. And it also seems to me that the number of children a couple chooses to bring into the world is a very private and personal matter, undeserving of criticism from others.

I remember taking all five of our children to a restaurant (something we didn’t often do when they were small, for obvious reasons). The waitress looked around the table and asked, “Are these all yours?”

“Yes,” I said proudly.

“You have my sympathy,” she said.

I still remember how those words stung.

When you choose the road less traveled, you don’t expect it to be easy. If you have one child you make financial sacrifices. Couples who have several children are well-aware of the expense involved. If you compare the cost of raising a child to school age to that of purchasing a luxury car, the amount of dollars you spend may be about the same—but the car will lose its value from the time it leaves the showroom floor, while a child is a joy forever.

Sometimes we do things not because it’s wise or practical, but simply because we are following our heart. Why not celebrate families, large or small? They are the backbone of this country, and they are the faces that make Kentucky such a special place to live.

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