Warning, I am about to brag about my kids. I feel a warning is in order because in some circles praising one’s own children can be considered a bit boorish. Not unlike praising yourself publically for a job well done.
The truth is however, often if not regularly, when out in public with some or all of my eight children, yes, eight, people go out of their way to complement the kids behavior. “I am so impressed with how well-mannered and well behaved your children are” , they say, even after all the raised eyebrows when our big group walks into a restaurant. The first thing we noticed by the look on people’s faces is “oh no, I hope they don’t seat that big group next to us”. Most people assume it’s going to be a raucous and noisy affair sitting next to that many kids in a restaurant. But, by the end of the meal the compliments come from all around. This happens a lot, and I have had a little trouble understanding why.
Then we went on the seven day cruise. We were fortunate enough through my work to take all the kids on a cruise vacation. It is apparently not a normal sight to see large families with many little ones cruising. We were on ship of what seemed like 1,000 grandparents. Multiple times a day, came the comments from complete strangers who had been watching us from afar. “How are your children so well behaved?” and “I am shocked, I have just one grandchild and my daughter can’t control her, let alone THIS many kids”. These kinds of comments came so often, that my wife and I had to sit down and really evaluate real answer to these compliments and questions.
In our minds are children are far from perfect and have had some difficulty handling these comments, but we have done our best to come up with five reasons why we think our children behave the way they do.
In no particular order:
Stay at home Mom. We sacrifice the two salaries, and are blessed to be able to live on one income which gives Becky the ability to be home at all times with them from babies to teen. We are able to avoid “parenthood by proxy” and the pitfalls of bad daycare behavior and the like.
Homeschooling. It is extremely hard but the payoffs are amazing in our children’s behavior, listening skills, stress levels. We are in control of shaping our children’s minds and not the government system.
Diet. This is HUGE. We avoid artificial everything and dangerous additives in food, like BHA, BHT, TBHQ, colors, preservatives, corn, corn syrups, high fructose, and other lab modified substances. When these foods are ingested the reactions and behaviors in our children are amazing. We have 26 years of daily experimentation in this area. Colors, candies, and “crap” WILL adversely affect a child’s brain and thus behavior. The more pure and natural the diet, the more well-mannered the children.
Household chores and responsibilities. We are a family. A team. Clean up, laundry, shopping, etc. are a group effort, and even the smallest are giving home responsibilities. Even when they don’t finish completely “cleaning the bedroom”, the chore instills a certain level of maturity.
God. Our kids know that Mom and Dad are serious about their belief in God. We pray together. We worship together. Bibles are read. I believe the children see and learn they are not cosmic evolutionary accidents. They are beings created in His image, with a purpose. They see we answer to the highest authority, and their life has meaning. Without this model of God revealed, why wouldn’t a child rebel, self -harm, and be left to conclude life has no guidance and meaning other than his or her own self interests?
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