home   message board   testimonials   order the book  

The Book

Underlying Principles

Teaching Obedience

Emotional Issues

With Character in Mind

The Parent's Part


Other Materials

Specific Problems

Your First Love

Family Commentaries

Elizabeth's Fun Stuff

Book Reviews

Favorite Books and Links

Raising Godly Tomatoes now in print!
  Raising Godly Tomatoes is now in it's second printing!  

Click here to read reviews of RGT at Amazon.com

Click here to order  ($14.95 per single copy, discounts for multiple sales)

Why do you have so many children?
An introduction by Elizabeth
Jeffy, our youngestMy husband and I have ten children. Ten so far, anyway. With large families being so rare these days, I'm often asked why we would want to have so many. My answer is not quite the same as many of the other "large family" testimonies I have heard. You see, we didn't always want a lot of children. Neither did we come to any particular conviction that in order to be obedient to God we must have many children. No, we didn't arrive where we are by that route. Instead, our hearts were changed over a period of time by the influence of experience and the godly advice of others.

Before I married, I never cared too much for babies, or small children, or even older children. Not up close anyway. I never played with dolls as a child, I rarely babysat, and I was really rather uncomfortable around children. I was afraid of them. I didn't know what to do with them or how to handle them, so I avoided them whenever possible.

Sure, I had enjoyed my own five siblings, so in a vague sort of way I pictured the ideal family as large, but that was it. I didn't really have much of a picture after that. Things were similar for my husband when he was a young man, so when we married we decided on a nice neat two children. Considering my lack of nature child related talents, maybe we'd wait until they were both in school before considering two more. I really didn't think I could handle all four home at once, or any more than that.

Then our first-born came into the world and we both fell immediately in love. He was so perfect. Those tiny toes, that cute little baby mouth, those beautiful blueberry blue eyes--he stole our hearts instantly. Number two was just as wonderful. Beautiful and sweet and good. A little girl this time. I had visions of smocked dresses and little fingers playing the violin someday. Well, after another couple of years, we weren't so sure about our plans to wait until these first two were in school before having more. By this time we were starting to think maybe children weren't all that bad (at least our own weren't) and maybe we should just go ahead and have our total of four all in a row, then quit. So we changed plans and welcomed a third, then started hoping for a fourth. 

But alas, as our children grew past the baby stage, a few problems cropped up. As much as I loved my children, I found parenting pre-schoolers difficult and frustrating. I read all the books, I prayed, I took parenting classes, I did everything a good mother was supposed to do, yet I was still confused and discouraged. I was amazed at how challenging they could be. I felt as though I was constantly on the verge of being driven crazy by all those annoying little things that small children do all day long. Despite all the books and experts, I really still had no idea what I could or could not discipline them for, or how to discipline them if I should attempt to. I thought I was just supposed to ignore and endure all their little misbehaviors, and I wasn't doing very good at that. 

I also started worrying about the salvation of my children. I didn't seem to have much control over their behavior, so how was I going to influence their hearts? I was terrified of the thought that some or all of my children might grow up to be unbelievers. I didn't know how I could live with that. We'd thought about having more children, but we didn't want more if they were going to ultimately rebel. We felt we'd already taken a chance by having the ones we had, and we weren't sure we wanted to tempt fate further. We didn't think it was enough to just say we were "doing our best and trusting God with the rest." We'd heard that from too many Christians whose children had ended up on drugs, or committing fornication, or just hating their parents, and God as well. We didn't want that to happen in our family. 

Then two things happened. First, we discovered homeschooling. That gave me great hope. I loved the knowledge that I wouldn't have to shove my children out into the big, cold, dangerous world away from my guidance and protection at age five. Maybe we could keep them from peer pressure and negative influences for at least a little longer, and maybe that would allow us to stay "close" to them for a while longer too. I really, really wanted to stay close to my children. I remember a neighbor casually commenting to me one day, "Oh, you lose them when they go to school." WHAT?! I did not want to lose my beloved children. Homeschooling gave me hope that this might not have to happen. Maybe if I could keep them with me a while longer, I could also keep their hearts close to mine, and maybe I'd have a better chance to influence them toward God.

Secondly, we started fellowshipping with a slightly older couple who knew how to train in a godly way that worked! Their children had grown from babyhood through the toddler stage, past early childhood, and into, through, and out of the teen years, with no temper tantrums, no terrible twos, no teenaged rebellion, no raging hormones, no drug problems, no promiscuity, no anything awful. How could that be? They had even managed to maintain a close and loving relationship their parents. And they all loved God and had chosen to serve Him with their whole hearts.

As we began to ask for and follow this couple's parenting advice, (which I will share with you here), we very quickly began to have hope that we really could raise godly children who would not go astray. There is great peace in realizing that God gives us a plan for doing so; we don't have to just roll the dice. With the help of these godly friends, we gained hope and confidence for the future. We began, for the first time, to trust in God's words found in Proverbs 22:6 (NAS): "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.

At this point are began to notice for the first time, the enormous wealth of information the Bible contains about childrearing. Guess what? The entire Bible is about children and families! God loves children. The Bible is written to His children. We are His children. His promises are to His children. His wisdom and guidance is all there for His children to live by. He valued his children enough to die for them. Anyway, I won't go on about that at the moment, but all these things opened our eyes to wanting more children. Knowing how to discipline, train, nurture, and love our children, gave us the confidence that we could have and enjoy many of them.

So I guess we didn't have ten children (so far) out of obedience, but rather out of God given desire, after discovering the knowledge we needed to successfully raise that many. We now enjoy our children daily, as the very special blessings that God says they are. Who wouldn't want another blessing? "Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; the fruit of the womb is a reward." - Psalm 127:3 (NAS)
(c) Copyright 2007 L. Elizabeth Krueger.  All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.