Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Big Families

For the past couple of years, we've had the bare minimum of channels on our TV - a.k.a. Dish Network's Family Plan. Brad and Madison were really missing their football games, so Brad has temporarily upgraded our channel plan to include the ESPN channels. Along with this upgrade, we got a couple of channels back that I enjoy watching - HGTV and TLC. I especially like Monday nights on TLC. I don't know if this is their regular schedule but for the past two weeks, they've shown a program called Children by the Dozen. A few Sundays ago, they had an all-day marathon of these shows. I love watching these large families and how they interact with each other and "get it all done." Last night they aired an episode of a family with 13 children (evidently not finished yet) with 11 still at home. (BTW, their grocery bill on average is $150/week. Wow. Ours averages $120/week, so I would love to know how she does that.)

There seemed to be a "big family" theme going on last night. I'm usually in bed by 10:00, but last night at that time they were showing the Duggar Family in NYC. They are a fun and interesting family to watch, so I stayed up past my bedtime to see the two episodes that documented their stay there and also their time on the Today Show. What a lovely family.

Why do I enjoy watching these families so much? I think I can relate it to something I read the other day by Doug Phillips in a Vision Forum e-mail. It was "excerpted from the chapter “The Art of Home School Opera: The Blessing of Family Eccentricities,” from The Little Boy Down the Road: Short Stories and Essays on the Beauty of Family Life, by Douglas W. Phillips, to be released from Vision Forum, October, 2008." The message began with the problem of "sound pollution" and how everyday there are "thousands of sounds competing for the attention of fathers." Here's what he went on to say ---
We live in a world of sound pollution — too much sound, all the time. We spend so much time listening to indiscriminate sounds that we often fail to hear the music of life. We need to reduce the pollution and start listening to the most important music — the sounds that make a Christian household a Christian household.
There is music in the sound of a family worshipping the Lord together. There is music in the sound of babies laughing, of children studying at the family table, of sisters preparing meals for their family, and of moms reading bedtime stories to little ones. When these sounds truly reflect hearts that long to please their Heavenly Father, they make up the aroma of a life well-lived before the Lord.
Of course, the most beautiful music to a father’s ear are any sounds which allow him to experience the blessing of watching his children walking in truth. On this point, Jesus Christ, the author of Holy Scripture, wrote, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 1:4).
I am persuaded that the sounds of a household are a window into the soul of the family.
For most American families today, the sounds being projected are filled with the noise pollution of the television or even with the discordant shouts of family turmoil. In other cases, the modern household is an empty tomb — a shadow of what family life was meant to be. In these households, there is little sound because there are no children. Or perhaps the silence stems from years of family fragmentation in which mother, father, and children each have their own individualized lives largely lived out far from home.
The Christian household is meant to be different. It is a place of love and living
And that means noise. It means houses filled with the glorious echoes of babies crying, of children playing, of mothers teaching, of fathers training, and even a few animals chirping, meowing, or woofing. It means life — with all of its glory, sadness, and joy. It means happy homes of highly eccentric families, each with their own unique vision, style, personality traits, and expressions.
These homes are not museums. That means they are rarely immaculate. Gloriously organized chaos is sometimes a more apt description. They are homes made up of grateful and forgiven sinners who recognize that there is no greater joy than to daily experience the nobility of the commonplace, from the simple disciplines of Christian life — prayer, studies, work — to the thrill of watching fathers eating the fruit of their labors, of moms who radiate the glory of being fruitful vines, and of brothers and sisters who gather around the family table like precious olive plants (Psalm 128).
Look for these households. For their number is growing. They are part of a great spiritual work where the hearts of parents are turning to their children and children to their parents (Malachi 4:6). And when you find them, listen.

Hmmm......Yes, I like the sound of that........

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