I cannot tell you how many times over the years I’ve been asked why my wife and I chose to have a large family.
To this day I find it odd.
Not that it’s an odd question in and of itself, but rather because it has never made sense to me why people wouldn’t want a large family themselves.
Throughout the hundreds of conversations I’ve had over the years, I noticed that the main determining factor between those who had children (or a lot of them) and those who didn’t was what they ‘value’.
Now this didn’t make a person good or bad in my mind, it just was. We all have different goals in life, different expectations, dreams, hopes, and having children creates dynamic changes in our lives.
Some people consider kids as a burden or a bill, not a benefit and blessing. Individuals like this tends to focus on the costs—not outcome. Again, I didn’t see this as good or bad—we all have our choice—it just surprised me that so many people I’ve met couldn’t seem to see what I did.
Sadly, there are also those who either look down upon families like mine, or they simply don’t know what to say…so they spew out something trying to be funny, but end up looking like an ass.
“Don’t you know where babies come from?” “Good grief! Don’t you have anything better to do than making babies?”
When Dogs Bark
I’m a protective personality.
You can say most anything to me and I’ll likely shrug it off.
Go after my wife and children, and I’m going to bite.
Trust me when I say it would be better for you if we were friends.
There’s no reason to be unkind, especially when the person you attack has done nothing to harm or even offend you. Yet some folks just have to share their emotional vomit, whether you want them to or not.
My wife and I had just welcomed child number six into our home, and for the first time, Kathi wanted to get out—even though the trip was to our local grocery store.
We love Macey’s, which is a family atmosphere, and we’d lived long enough in the neighborhood that many of the female clerks knew us. When we got to checkout, the young lady greeted us kindly, asking how my wife was doing, then added, “Is this…number six?”
The older woman behind us gasped, “Six children? That’s disgusting! Why would you bring so many mouths into this world!??”
Everyone in a ten foot bubble around us froze.
The woman was, I’m guessing, in her late 60’s, in a tank top, added tattoos and orange skin, accented with multiple piercings down both earlobes and one side of her nose.
The clerk looked away, embarrassed. My wife on the other hand, frowned, holding Asia closer to her chest.
I smiled at my wife, then leaned in, whispering, “I’ll meet you at the car.”
“Sweetheart, don’t,” she started, but when you make your comments public, the only ‘proper’ course is to reply in public. She knew I wouldn’t budge on this.
With a nod, she led the teen bagger and our cart of groceries outside.
I turned my attention to the woman behind me.
“That was awfully unkind, mam,” I said softly, keeping my tone even. “Why would you criticize people like that?”
Without a pause, she sneered at me. “I’d kill myself before having that many kids!”
You know, I have to admit—me and Karma have had this special arrangement ever since I got married to my adorable wife.
I looked at the woman, nodded thoughtfully and then replied, “That’s good to know, because not everyone should breed.”
The clerk slapped a hand over her mouth, while every patron in our isle and those on either side burst into laughter.
Seething in anger, the woman turned to the man behind her in line and snapped, “Did you hear what he just said to me!?”
To which the man leaned forward, into her face, “Yes…I did.” Thumbing the over six foot teen boy behind him, he added, “Number SEVEN.”
Never seen a senior citizen move so fast through a crowd before.
There are countless reasons why people have children. Most of them personal.
Thing is, it’s not a contest—it’s a journey.
I have friends who wanted children so they could live their own childhood again, this time through the eyes of another. A friend of mine had sweet and clever nephews and wanted a son of his own. My cousin wanted to have children just to spoil them.
He’d grown up under humble circumstances, so he worked hard to generate a small fortune for himself and his wife. When she said she wanted children, he was overjoyed—because he had the means to give their children anything they wanted.
As for myself, well—I wanted to have children because I wanted to be a father. To teach and care for, protect, and guide young minds and hearts into happy, strong, well-adjusted members of society. It was my way of making the world a better place.
Finding your own why is one of the most important discoveries one can make as a parent.
That single discovery will shape (or reshape) the core of who you will become as an adult.
How do you find YOUR why?
Simply put, you just have to ask for it.
I took time to ponder my life when my wife was pregnant with our first child. Many late nights, sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee, asking myself specific questions.
- Why do I want to be a father?
- What am I willing to sacrifice to become one?
- What kind of children do I want to raise?
- Why expectations will I have for them?
- Are those expectations reasonable, not only to me, but to my wife?
- What kind of relationship do I want to have with my children?
Over and over I asked myself questions, always coming back to ‘but WHY do I want that?’
Distilling the information down until I couldn’t ask ‘why’ again—because I knew why.
I knew the answer from head to toe, balls to bone. I wanted to become a father, because it’s who I am and who I was always meant to be.
I’m willing to sacrifice, suffer, work, repeat, and provide a stable, consistent life for these little souls who come to my family, and never give up on them. Because their existence, care and teaching are the most important thing to me in my life.
That’s my why.
If you doubt me, look at my children…and my grandchildren.
After all the pondering over what I would share with you this year, I couldn’t think of anything more important than our WHY.
There is no single thing I can think of that is more critical to our survival or our success as parents.
So that’s what I’d like to show you.
How to come to the truth of your own WHY, and how it will become the foundation of the brilliant and dynamic family you already have, or plan to create in the future.
WHAT TO DO NEXT
It’s time for you to take the time and discover your own WHY for being a parent.
So here’s what I suggest:
Take some personal time, without distraction, to ask yourself some honest questions.
Make sure to write your questions and thoughts down on paper.
Don’t trust your memory, because you will forget.
Think about what motivates you. Ponder about what is most important in your life.
WHY do you want to be a parent?
Ask yourself “why” over and over again, answering honestly to yourself until you can’t anymore. You’ll soon uncover your WHY,…and we can build on it.
REMEMBER: YOU are the parent. YOU are in charge. What I share here, is because you matter…your family matters. I support you in YOUR role as a loving parent.
My role is to provide perspectives and experiences in a plain form, so you can choose what’s best for yourself and those you love most.
You’ve got this.
“Nothing you achieve in life will compensate for your failure as a parent.”