12 Things I Learned Growing Up in a Large Family

12 Things I Learned Growing Up in a Large Family

I’m thankful for my parents who chose to have 12 kids. Being number 11 out of 12, I am glad they didn’t stop. And so is my wife, and so are my kids. So thanks mom and dad, or as we called them, mama and daddy.

Psalm 127:3-5 New King James Version (NKJV)

3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.

4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.

5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

Now growing up in a large family certainly had its challenges. You had to share a whole lot but you always had someone to play with.

As I look back on the 11 siblings that I grew up with, I realize that I learned a quality from each one of them. I wanted to share those with you today.

  1. Responsibility. You were always responsible for someone, something, or an attitude. Take on the responsibility that has been assigned to you. We don’t always get to choose those things that come to us but we can still do a great job.
  2. Forgiveness.  The most powerful thing about giving and receiving forgiveness is that it sets you free. I saw this exhibited many times among my family. We may have fought but we’d always forgive each other.
  3. Boldness. Sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe. Sometimes you have to stand up for what you want to do. Sometimes you have to step out even when you’re unsure and do those things that are outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes you have to reach across the dinner table and grab that last piece of fried chicken before someone else does.
  4. Kindness. There’s no way you can set a limit on the value of kindness. Just to see it on display from one person to another is quite impactful.
  5. Encouragement. The confidence that comes through the encouragement of those who love you is powerful. We always wanted the best for one another.
  6. Consistency. Staying consistent with your plans for life. Don’t give up on your routines because you don’t see the quick results.
  7. Loyalty. Be true to one another. Be true to your family. Be true to your loved ones. Be true to society. Be true in how you treat other people. Be a person that’s true blue.
  8. Resiliency. Every scar and dimple, flaw and pimple was fair game. From toes to foreheads we made fun of it all. And we never took offense. Because deep down we knew how much we loved one another and that didn’t matter. It taught us to not let the offense that others can cause take root in you. Bounce back.
  9. Resourcefulness. Being resourceful isn’t having the resources that you need, it’s doing what you can with the resources that you have.
  10. Helpfulness. Always be willing to help someone out. I understand that you can’t do everything for everyone but a heart of helpfulness is great. That goes for business, it goes for ministry, it goes in friendship.
  11. Authenticity. I wasn’t like my brothers and sisters. Even though we had a lot of things in common, we were all different. Being yourself and who God made you while aligning with Christ is something that’s really important to do. My family did not need a copy of another sibling. They needed me to be me and I needed them to be them.
  12. Humor. See the humor in what you face, see the humor in adversity. Laughter truly is great medicine and it helped us through a lot of shame, pain, and tough situations.

So thanks to my siblings. Thank you, Sharon, Bubba, Michael, Marlene, David, Ray, Pam, Sandy, Terri, Eddie, and Paul.

  1. One more thing, that I learned from my parents, was to take care of what you create. My mom birthed 12 kids in a span of 15 years and she took care of what she created. When you value and take care of who you create, they will eventually move out.
  2. One more thing to add that I learned from my wife Lisa is to love someone for who they are as they become who they want to be. I met Lisa at church and teased her that I’m glad we met before she saw my house which was probably the ugliest house in town. It should’ve been abandoned, but we couldn’t afford to abandon it. She just never seemed to notice that part. She got to know me and my family and to her, that was just where we lived. She loved me into who I wanted to become.

Proverbs 18:22 New King James Version (NKJV)

22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord.

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