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I was recently on the phone with a relative and she asked me how the boys liked their new baby sister. For those just joining us, we happen to be the proud parents of five beautiful children, four boys and one new baby girl. I told her the truth. The boys ADORE their baby sister. Having a sister has brought out a softer side in all of them. They bring her toys and blankets. They make silly faces for her and run to find pacifiers whenever she makes the slightest whimper.
I had just seen a video of a child crying because he found out his mom was having twins, so I also made the comment that we were so lucky that our kids have never been upset about adding a new baby. In fact, they're already asking for a new baby sister and this one is only 2 months old! I thought she'd find it as sweet as I did. I thought she'd be proud to have such sweet boys in her family. I was wrong... Well, I hope they still feel that way when they're teenagers. As if our children couldn't possibly be happy to have a large family. That they would grow to resent each other because they couldn't buy designer shoes or drive their own car.
I told her what I'm going to say here and it's something that I feel I need to shout for all the world to hear:
I am raising my children to love people more than things!
With five kids, we have to make sacrifices. The kids don't have an activity for each season. They share rooms. They wear hand-me-downs. We eat at home most nights and I am very creative about finding cheap and free things for us to do.
Do they have all the latest toys and gadgets? No! And, you know what? We don't have cable television, so they don't even miss them. We truly believe that family is more important than possessions- so we spend our money on experiences and share what we have to help others.
My 8-year-old came home today with a paper he wrote for class about Halloween. The teacher asked them to write about if parents should be allowed to take some of their children's candy. I have no idea what the other kids said, but I'm so proud of my son's response:
"I think my parents should be able to have some of my Halloween candy because they bought my costume. They take me to do fun things like apple picking. They buy my Christmas presents. They also are too old to go trick-or-treating. Another reason is they bought us kettle corn at apple picking. That is why I think my parents should have some of my Halloween candy."
Even at young ages, our children are soaking in our values and it's shaping them. Things are just that - things! When my children are teenagers (and adults) they'll have each other and I hope that they'll know 5 things:
- That we love them more than anything.
- That we truly believe that each one of them was a gift from God - even if they weren't planned. Even if they were a surprise. Even if our budget was tight and our bodies were tired. They were each a blessing and the perfect addition at the perfect time for our family.
- That no material possession can give them lasting joy.
- That having a close and loving family is the most important gift we can give them.
- That no matter what else I accomplish in life, raising them will have been my greatest achievement.
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