Just read this nice essay from a mother of five. A mother who understands what is important in life and is passing that value onto her children. The essay is here.
Whenever I admit to having five children, people's eyes tend to pop. A decade ago, the brave used to ask: "Are you Catholic?" (answer: no), but today that is no longer the question. Now, what everyone wants to know is: "How on earth can you afford it?" So I wasn't surprised to learn this week that Britain's families are shrinking at an alarming rate, and that the root cause of this reluctance to breed is money.
What you learn:
Being one of a heap teaches you things that no curriculum can encompass - give and take, sharing parental time, looking out for one another, even doing your bit to help in order to show up the laziness of the rest.
Being part of a larger family not only makes a child aware of the limits of their own ego, it forces them to be self-sufficient in order to get some personal space. When the noise levels at home are just too high, my children have to engineer their own escape routes. This may be playing the guitar, reading a book, or going down the road to a friend's house, where there is a calmer atmosphere. Inevitably, they get less attention than they would if they were fewer in number, but benign neglect is overdue a revival. Few children actually want to bask in the full beam of parental attention beyond babyhood. They would rather get on with their own lives and seek out an adult only when they want something.
That something is often couched in monetary or material terms - "I need a new pair of shoes" - but rarely is the request to be taken at face value. I have found that money in families is shorthand for love. When a child is complaining or demanding something, he or she often needs a cuddle, not cash, not an expensive treat but someone who wants to hear about their battle with a schoolfriend or why they weren't picked for the football team.
What I want to know is when does the book come out? A good writer and with a lot of common sense about children and human nature, how rare is that?