Let's face it, having more than two or three kids requires unique sacrifice. And that sacrifice can come in a variety of ways.....financially, mentally, physically, socially, and probably a few other 'lly' words that we don't necessarily need to remind ourselves of to get the point.

There are many things that get more difficult with more children. I won't sugar coat it. I won't pretend life gets easier with every new addition to the family. Trust me. I've got five. Anyone with a larger family will tell you the same. Life gets a little harder, and it's a unique and special calling from God to be blessed with many children. He can count on you, and does for each of these little souls. It's a gift, no doubt, but one with consequences. Life changes. The laundry alone can be overwhelming.

Now, having said all that....I'll tell you there are so many more blessings of a large family that outweigh any negatives I could possibly post here. And I truly believe that any family with several children will tell you the same thing. The blessings outweigh the negatives. And I'll describe one big positive that stood out to me recently, which made me grateful for the gift of a larger family....even with all the sacrifice involved.

Over the years, we have tried to instill the idea of looking after one’s own family as a natural way to help each other, love each other and teach responsibility. It's come more naturally to some of the children than others, but we have always insisted that we never tease each other, especially at school. School is a place where there will be enough other children there that we never need to add to the teasing that might be happening. The job is not to tease but to defend each other in difficult situations.

Four of the five are in school now, full days. My oldest is ten. The youngest in school is five years old. As a parent, you never really know, if one is getting teased, what are the siblings doing? Are they joining in on the teasing? Do they standing there not knowing what to do? Do they instigate? Do they try to stop it? How are they involved, if at all?

Recently, an incident happened at the school involving my five year old, Entertainer and six year old, Serious. They were in the middle of a potentially dangerous situation at recess, and with no help in sight from nearby teachers, my two oldest, Thinker and Carefree came to the rescue.

They broke up the situation, literally put up their hands to shield the little ones, and ultimately got the girls out of the center of the closing mob. I nearly teared up hearing of the situation, not only because of my little girls being in the fray, but hearing of the bravery that my two oldest displayed. It had me calling my husband to bring icecream home for the crew as reward! Not only that, my oldest knew enough to bring the situation to the attention of her teacher to get an adult involved.

My husband and I talked later about it, and the instinct was there for them to protect their sisters, and I was surprised that it was. We had taught them to protect the little ones, look out for them, help them and so on, but as a parent, you never know if they really will. When the moment comes, that they need to act, will they? If the bully is twice their size, and two years older, can a parent truly expect an 8 year old and a 10 year old to step up to the plate and protect their siblings? Especially when the backlash could be worse in the end?

It's not their role, the teachers should have been supervising, there's no doubt. But, this is the instant that things happen, and as much as you can try and prepare your children for these life situations, you never even know if they will actually happen, and how will they handle it. Will they remember all you told them?

I was beyond proud of my two oldest, of course. But I sat and prayed and thought long and hard about all the sacrifices that parents make when there are multiple children in the family. So many sacrifices, small and big, that sometimes you over look the pros of a large family.

As a family, you look out for each other. You protect each other. You see something happening to someone you love, and you do, instinctively step up to the plate, and no matter the consequence, you stand in the middle, you stand in the way of those meaning to harm your loved ones.

Sometimes school isn't about academics. Sometimes, children need to learn not only how to handle themselves in group dynamics, but how to stand up for others, who may be weaker, smaller, younger, scared, alone or defenseless. That's love, that's charity, that's what makes us humane.

That day on the playground, my children learned more than any classroom can teach them. They saw one of their own in danger, and they stood up to take action. That day, I thanked God for a large family. I thanked Him for giving us several children to be there for each other, to help each other, to love each other in this way.

The world can be a cold, hard place, and as parents we won't always be there.....but......God gave each of our children four siblings who can be. Each child has four other little soldiers in their corner, ready to stand for each other. If that's not a pro for giving a child a brother or a sister, I don't know what is.

Copyright 2010 Sahmatwork