Thursday, October 26, 2006

Playing fair.

Since discovering three days ago that Team Prentice will be adding a new member (YAY!!!) we have had a ton of positive remarks, well wishes, and congratulations.

There are those few select people however who choose hem....rain on our procreational parade.

"What?!" "How is that even possible?!" "How many kids are you going to have?!" "How can you afford all those kids?". I am sure you're familiar enough with questions like these, so I'll spare you any more.

This makes me wonder. It makes me wonder what it is exactly that people think children 'need'. I think I have summed up a short list of general 'needs' that MANY people think children have, with whom, for the most part, I disagree wholeheartedly.

Children need: lots of toys, lots of new clothes (not those disgusting hand-me-downs), Disneyland, McDonalds, video games, plenty of time to just play and not be bothered with learning manners, helping mom and dad, or taking care of their things.

When they're older, children need: a new car, immediately after getting their license, plenty of time to just play and not be bothered with practicing good manners, helping their parents, or taking care of their things. They need video games, lots of new clothes, and their own room. They always need to have their own room and, frankly, to make a child 'share' a room is almost enough reason to call CPS. Children definitely need their entire education paid for so they don't have to be bothered--even if they want to go to medical school. Really. God forbid they have student loans, aka a beautiful reminder every day that the privilege of an education isn't free and is totally worth working for.

So, in the most loving and non-judgmental way that I can, I am going to tell you a little about our philosophy.

Having children and having money should never HAVE to go hand in hand. Period. Our children love rolling around in grass just as much as they love rolling around in the ball-pit at IKEA. Our children love helping me make homemade cookies with ingredients we already have just as much as they love special trips to Starbucks for a chocolate chunk cookie. Our children look so forward to birthdays mostly for all the singing, clapping and cake. The presents are a bonus. How many they get doesn't matter at all. Our children love listening to books on tape from the library and sitting in our laps while we read to them just as much as they love playing games on the computer and watching movies. Our boys are so adorable when they wake up together and happy, after having just slept in the SAME ROOM. Shepherd looks at Paxton through the slats of his crib and sees love. He sees his beautiful and gentle brother looking back at him from his little twin bed, just four feet away. It is precious and it's a little thing we like to call 'sharing'.

Our children love our unglamorous white mini-van with fishy crackers shoved down in the seatbelt cracks just as much as they love Noni's Mercedes, Popi's Infinity, and Grandma and Grandma's farm toys like the Toro Twister and big tractor. They don't 'need' flash. A car is a car, heated seats or not.

I posted a month or so ago about what I wanted for my children. I understand some parents' fear. I really do. They can't even imagine what they would do without all the stuff to which they have become accustomed. They are so scared about what it would do to their children if they didn't have a trampoline, a dvd player in their room, or trips to Disneyland at least once every three years. They are scared because that's what they grew up with. That's what their parents gave them. How could any child have a happy childhood with any less?

Our children need us. Our children need God. Our children need structure, time to play, time to learn, and time to grow. They need to be able to learn from their mistakes, to not take each other for granted and to stand up for those who are weaker than they. Our children need love, a mom and dad who love each other and make time for each other. Our children need parents who aren't afraid to tackle problems head-on, and who talk to them when there's a problem. Our children need sit-down, homecooked meals. Our children need to be read to, listened to, and tended to. Our children need to know that they are a part of a team. A team goes nowhere with only one player. It just can't. All players must work together and look out for each other, else the team will not succeed. We don't have to always win. Not at all. Sometimes we will, in fact, fail. But we do have to play fair.

And learning how to play fair has nothing to do with iPods, cell phones, or Abercrombie and Fitch.


Melissa said...

YES!!! Imagine me cheering wildly and enthusiastically. If I was there, I'd kiss you!!! You are so right on with your assessment of what kids "need". Bravo!!!

He who wears the most black wins. said...


;) I knew you'd have the same opinion. Love it!

Anonymous said...

Did I read this right....
How wonderful for your family...
Your dad had not mention anything to me...
I'm so thrilled for you...and me.
I love being a Grammy....
Look forward to seeing you in a week or so....Hugs and kisses

Mom to Almost Four said...

Lots of clapping here!!!

I couldn't have said it better myself! Are we related somehow???? :))

Love the phrase "procreational parade"!!! And they will continue to rain. And I love being the sunshine through that rain for them.

I know Melissa has already linked this post, but I feel I must do so as well.

Anonymous said...

My oldest son has mentioned a few times that he'd like his own room (in theory...I think if I actually tried to accomodate that request he would balk). I have told him that his dad and I have to share a room, so he has to share a room. In college, you have to share a dorm room usually. I figure I'm just preparing them for the "real" world.

I love the look of shock on people's faces when I respond to their "how will you pay for college?" question with "I'm not!" I then tell them that my husband had an ROTC scholarship and I had a merit scholarship and that we both owed big bucks when we graduated. I actually think some people are relieved to hear me say that. Finally, somebody lifts the oppressive burden of having to cough up $100k to finance the college of their kids' dreams.

Mom to Almost Four said...

Amen, Michelle. Who ever came up with that unnecessary burden anyway?

My parents encouraged my sisters and I to work hard and earn scholarships - we did.

I have seen too many who have free rides, make a mess of school. I pray that having to work hard for this education (as originally said) may help them appreciate this opportunity more.

"He who wears the most black wins" : Have you ever mentioned your real first name? I don't know it. If you choose not to reveal that's perfectly fine. Just wondered. I always end up referring to you to my husband as "you know, the one who wears black." :))

Suzanne Temple said...


Mom of boys said...

Well, when we mentioned a few weeks ago that we wouldn't mind having more, someone I know said, "well, I guess we will start having to bring you guys food so you can eat!".

I about fell over! I said "we still go out to eat at a sit down restaurant ever Sunday after church, so I think we have got a ways before we are that desperate!". I could not believe that we got that comment! And with only 4 kids (albeit boys!)

Actually, my husband's only financial concern with a large family is if medical insurance changes and is dependent on the number of kids you have! We don't worry about anything else!

Anonymous said...

Well, well, well...sounds like you definitely live in the north! It's too bad that our society feels the need to "rain" on the news of a baby! I guess those are the same people that don't want your children to pray in school. That was the best blog so far. I am truly thrilled for you and your growing family!! If you ever want to celebrate, call me...your SOUTHERN friend