This I Believe

Valerie - Conway, Arkansas
Entered on November 25, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family

I believe in big families. By this, I do not mean that I believe everyone should have a big family, but I believe that big families bring a special kind of joy. Some people today believe that big families are unrealistic, maybe even unethical for the environment or the rest of the population, but I argue that big families are valuable and have a place in our society.

I grew up on a small farm as the oldest of nine children, so I had a lot of responsibilities in the house and outside. I remember times that I wished I didn’t have so much to do or that there weren’t so many of us, but those times were few and far between. The responsibilities I had as the oldest child in my family have shaped who I am today. I know how to care for and interact with children and other adults, how to cook and clean, how to sew, how to take care of animals, and much more. But even more than learning responsibility, I learned about the little “joys” that come from being in a big family. These joys are sometimes sweet, like when we all gather in a little hospital room to see Mom and a new baby. Sometimes they’re funny like when your high school friends refer to your primary mode of transportation as the “church bus” or when the photographer knows your family by name and clears out his whole studio to fit you all in. I remember going to a college entrance interview which my mom was invited to attend with me. We laughed all the way home about how surprised everyone was to see an 18-year-old coming to college with a baby brother only a few months old.

I think the best part of being in a big family is that I am never alone. There is always someone to talk to, and someone to listen to. There is always someone to take care of me when I am hurt or sick, and always someone for me to care for. There are people to love me, and people for me to love.

For the responsibility and values they teach and for the comfort they bring, I believe in big families.