Thursday, March 3, 2016

A big family teaches kids something they can't get anywhere else

It's all about teamwork. And fun.
I admit, I'm biased. I am biased toward our big family. A big reason is this idea that we're a big team. I was telling a friend the other day about a team I was on way back in the day in Bend, Ore., that was the best team I've ever been on. In my senior at Bend High School our cross country team had the fastest runner in the state transfer out before the season started. It could have been a big blow.

But we had a couple of freshmen -- Brent Westfall and Jimmy Robertson -- come in and join the varsity and along with Dave Williams, Scott Nyden, Chris Hamilton, Jared Anderson and yours truly, we ended up winning the state championship by 69 points. What I loved about the team is that it was a bunch of guys from different backgrounds -- a few of us also ran track but we also had a golfer, a couple of baseball players and a national-class cross country skier on the team -- who worked hard and enjoyed being together. There were also races where one or two guys may not have the best day, but other guys were there to pick up the slack. It was simply a great team.

A family should be many things. One of those is a team. I like to think our family operates like a team. It's cool to see kids fill different roles naturally. We have a couple of them who often do the dishes without being asked. Talk about a blessing!

Some of our kids, before serving themselves at mealtime, dish up the youngest kids at dinner. Without being asked.

We have some kids who are comedians. They make us laugh. We have kids who take care of Flopsy and even organize the search parties when she makes her frequent hops to freedom.

We have kids who pitch in with the cooking. And man can they cook! We have kids who organize family games of soccer or capture the flag or hold family board game nights.

Brenton sprung for four large pizzas on Sunday and is notorious for making late-night family Taco Bell runs. Those are MVP type of performances.

Seth loves to snuggle. Ask Evie how valuable that is when she comes home from college. Last time she was home I walked into the living room and she had both Seth and Judah snuggling with her on the couch.

Kids help other kids get dressed and ready for church. They all help pick up the toys. MerriGrace cleans the bathrooms and no one asks her. Is she an angel?

What the kids learn is that part of being family can entail sacrificing your own interests for the good of the group. Certainly the kids could always look out for number one and not help out their brothers or sisters, or do dishes, or clean bathrooms, or take care of pets, or spring for pizza and all the other stuff that they do.

But they love being a part of this team. This family.

I am so thankful.

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