Is it possible to have a family that is big, and also happy? Many people don’t seem to think so. In fact, from comments I have heard about the size of our family, many parents don’t have a happy family with their two or three kids. In their words, the kids drive them crazy, and they can’t handle the ones they have.
People ask me often “How do you do it?!” How do you have such a happy family?
Here are a few things we have chosen to do that we feel helped us have a big HAPPY family. (Our oldest is now 33, and our youngest is 17)
My husband Alan and I made a commitment to God at the marriage altar, and over the years we have chosen to love each other and stay together, even when things were rough. We promised each other that divorce (that can be obtained with the help of attorneys for child custody) would never be an option, then we worked to keep our relationship strong, and not let the kids come between us.
As Christians, we have tried to teach our kids Biblical principles and values, while also exampling for them our love for Christ, and our desire to please Him. We regularly attend a Bible believing church as a family, and have been involved in different ministries in the church.
My husband did what he could to give me some time for my own renewal. He often would offer to keep the kids, while I went out with a friend, or just out to relax and be away from the noise and demands of little ones. He was also very good at taking little ones with him when he went shopping. Having the house to myself for a couple hours would do wonders for my spirit. Those breaks helped me to not only be a better mom, but also a happier wife. We would also go out without the kids to have some time together to connect, relax, and be refreshed.
We dedicated our kids to God when they were babies, and realized that we were given these children as a gift from God, to raise and train for His service. With that in mind, we did all we could to give them a hunger and thirst for the things of God. We prayed for them, and prayed with them. We used God’s Word to correct and train them, because His Word has a power that our words don’t have.
We realized that raising our children was OUR job, and made the commitment to be present and involved. I was a stay-at-home mom, and chose to homeschool the kids so we could be the ones shaping their values, and influencing them.
We taught the kids how to work, and contribute to the family.
One of the best things we did for our kids was teach them how to work, and expect them to work around the house on an ongoing basis. We trained them in jobs, then expected them to do the jobs that were on their job charts. They loved feeling like they played an important part of our family running smoothly. When they got older and got a job, their employers were thankful that they knew how to work hard, and be responsible. When they got married, their spouses were thankful for the work ethic they had.
We were careful with our money, and lived frugally. This helped avoid the stress of debt hanging over our head. It also taught our kids to be content and thankful for what they had, rather than always wanting the newest thing out there.
Having a large family requires a lot of work and energy, but the rewards for that time and energy are well worth it. Put the effort into keeping Christ first in your home and family, and reap the blessings of a large happy family!
Kathie Morrissey is the mother of 8 children, wife to Alan for 35 years, as well as an author and speaker. She is the founder of The Character Corner, where she loves to blog about parenting, family life, homeschooling, and life in general. Her heart’s desire is to help and encourage parents to be purposeful in raising Godly children, who walk in purity, and have a heart for God.