July 29, 2013 1:41 pm at 1:41 pm #610189
There was a couple that liked to collect Faberge eggs these beautiful jewel encrusted egg shaped cases that cost many many thousands of dollars each, they started their collection with one but they soon wanted more and they added to their collection and eventually amassed about a dozen of these precious pieces of art.
It seemed however that the more eggs they collected the harder it was to care for all of them they needed special display cases and they needed to be cleaned, sadly because they had so many eggs they lost track of one and it fell and cracked because they could not properly protect so many eggs.
They were devastated by the loss of this egg even though they had others this one was certainly precious to them and irreplaceable.July 30, 2013 3:07 am at 3:07 am #969103
BumpJuly 30, 2013 4:44 am at 4:44 am #969104pixelateMember
Uh, eh… I extend my whishes of comfort and solace to the er, eggs, and themselves of course. er. GULP. smile.July 30, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm #969105–ParticipantJuly 30, 2013 4:57 pm at 4:57 pm #969106
I’m thinking that your post is a parable, and that collecting “Faberge” eggs represents having children. I have a response for that interpretation, but I don’t want to write it out if I am misunderstanding the parable. Am I understanding it correctly?July 30, 2013 5:32 pm at 5:32 pm #969107
Yes Avram you got it exactly right there are so many tragedies happening to small children of large families being left in a hot car, unsupervised near a pool or body of water there are other examples.
I know back in the 60s and 70s when it first became popular to have very large families the common reason given was to repopulate the Jewish souls we lost in the holocaust, but now it seems that every couple is expected to have many children, not to mention the fact that many of these families are on public assistance is it really fair for the government to pay for someone who has more children than they can afford? I look forward to your response Avram.July 30, 2013 8:15 pm at 8:15 pm #969108rebdonielMember
When Palestinian Muslim mothers have a kid that blows himself up, they shrug it off, saying that they have 8 other kids at home.
Let’s hope Jewish mothers don’t take a similar attitude when they lose a child and have many other kids. Each child is precious and a unique gift from the RBSO.July 30, 2013 8:34 pm at 8:34 pm #969109nishtdayngesheftParticipant
There is no evidence that children from smaller families suffer less tragedies.
The comment, to me , sounds like sour grapes.July 30, 2013 8:50 pm at 8:50 pm #969110
I dont have sour grapes i just wonder is it ethically correct for grandparents and parents who have umpteen grandchildren and children to go into major debt supporting all these kinderlach debt they will most probably never get out from under and will eventually have to file bankruptcy and cause their creditors to lose money.July 30, 2013 9:31 pm at 9:31 pm #969111
First, for a parable to be meaningful, the symbolism should match the reality. When Dovid Hamelech ensured that Uriya haChiti was killed in battle so that he could marry Bas Sheva his wife, the prophet Nosson came to him with a parable that a rich man who had many sheep wanted to make a party, and took the single, beloved ewe of a poor man to use for the feast. The feelings of the rich man in this parable are a good match for the feelings of Dovid Hamelech. In your parable, however, I don’t think collecting fancy eggs is a good match for children.
First, there is no comparison between the desire for objects and a couple’s desire for children.
Second, there is no chiyuv to collect fancy eggs, wheras there is a chiyuv to have children.
Third, in the lens of Torah, fancy eggs bring no benefit to the world (unless they are used for a mitzvah), whereas a child is a new world brought into being.
Now regarding your conclusion, I disagree strongly that the egg was broken as a result of the couple having too many eggs. The egg broke because the couple was careless with their egg. They could have had one egg and broken it.
I have seen some families struggling to cope with just one child. I have seen others running smoothly with many children. The health and safety of a home has much less to do with the number of children than it does the efforts and quality of the parents.July 30, 2013 9:48 pm at 9:48 pm #969112
there are so many tragedies happening to small children of large families being left in a hot car, unsupervised near a pool or body of water there are other examples.
G-d forbid, G-d forbid that this should ever happen to anyone. Unfortunately, it does happen, but I don’t see any correlation between the occurrence of these types of tragedies and the number of children a family has. A child is R”L left in a car usually due to a change in pattern, e.g., a father intending to bring his child to day care when he usually doesn’t, and not being mindful and going into autopilot. Parents must always check their cars whenever they exit, even if they know there are no kids inside. A drowning R”L happens if a location is not properly secured and supervised, which can happen whether there is one child or 20.
I know back in the 60s and 70s when it first became popular to have very large families the common reason given was to repopulate the Jewish souls we lost in the holocaust,
I think the secular American/European practice of having very few children is anomalous, not having a large number of children.
but now it seems that every couple is expected to have many children,
How many children to have is a decision that is solely between husband and wife, with a goal of serving Hashem as best as they can. It is not a decision to be taken lightly, but at the same time people outside of the marriage should not get involved unless asked.
not to mention the fact that many of these families are on public assistance is it really fair for the government to pay for someone who has more children than they can afford?
Personally I think feeding and caring for children is money well spent no matter where it is coming from, but this point really has no relation to the ones above about child safety. If you don’t like how your government’s money is being spent, then campaign for people who advocate changing the laws to something you like better.July 31, 2013 7:19 am at 7:19 am #969113
“Now regarding your conclusion, I disagree strongly that the egg was broken as a result of the couple having too many eggs. The egg broke because the couple was careless with their egg. They could have had one egg and broken it.”
You are, so to speak, “arguing with the question”. Admittedly, the parable is a little crude, but you should answer to the given premise, not substitute your own.July 31, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am #969114pinnymMember
I don’t understand, you start the thread with a parable trying to say that having many children leads to tragedies then when being challenged that there is no evidence that smaller families suffer less, you start with a problem that its not right to go into debt from having so many children. where does that come in here?July 31, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm #969115
Avrum thank you for responding i appreciate your viewpoint but i urge you to look at the tragedies from this summer alone and find out what the average amount of children are in these families I don’t know but i suspect that these types of tragedies are more prevalent in families with double digit children.
The Torah commands us to be fruitful and multiply but i feel having a family with a dozen or so children is unfair to those children, the older girls of the family are forced to play mommy when they themselves are still kids and deserve to have a childhood, the younger children do not get the kind of attention they deserve because there are so many in the family again this is my opinion and I may be wrong but I am entitled to my opinion no matter how unpopular it may be.July 31, 2013 1:17 pm at 1:17 pm #969116
You are, so to speak, “arguing with the question” … you should answer to the given premise, not substitute your own
There was no question to answer in the OP. The OP presented a parable written in the omniscient third person that allowed the OP to describe an event and the reason that the event occurred. I do not see how I failed to adequately respond by stating that the event and his reason for it do not match.
My contention is that the parable is not meaningful in the context of families and children, because it does not speak to the motivations of the parents in having children, nor the reason that a child (represented by the egg) would R”L be injured through neglect, but rather posits that lots of children = bad and unsafe, which I don’t think is a true statement.
Admittedly, the parable is a little crude
The parable is not crude at all – actually it was beautifully done. It just didn’t speak to reality in my opinion.
I’ll try to demonstrate more clearly what I am contending through a parable of my own that shows the dissonance between event and cause more clearly. I can’t promise it will be as beautiful as The Goq’s 🙂
Phil was a man who loved cats. He went to animal shelters and adopted cats. He found stray cats and adopted them too. He even bought cats from local pet stores. It was so expensive to buy all of the cat food to feed these cats, and so time consuming to clean all of those litter boxes. One day, Phil was walking through his house while texting on his phone, tripped on a cat, and died. The end.
Why did Phil die? The Goq contends that he had too many cats. I contend that he should have been watching where he was going.July 31, 2013 4:11 pm at 4:11 pm #969117
i urge you to look at the tragedies from this summer alone and find out what the average amount of children are in these families I don’t know but i suspect that these types of tragedies are more prevalent in families with double digit children.
If you take a sample from the frum community alone, then yes, you will find a lot of large families, but these types of tragedies happen across all communities, not just ours. They happen to families with one child, or two or three. That is not to excuse the occurrence of even one such tragedy.
My point is that just because you have A and B does not mean that A caused B.
Parenting multiple children brings new and different challenges, and parents must grow, adapt and address these challenges. If they do not, they are being irresponsible parents, just as first time parents would be if they didn’t adapt to care adequately for their first child. This does not mean that parents of double-digit children are irresponsible simply for having so many children. Each couple has its own limits and dynamics, and parents with 10 children may do better than parents of one or two. If parents do not feel like (or realize) they can adequately care for 10 children given their current lifestyle, yet have them anyway without first addressing their issues, then that makes them irresponsible parents.
The Torah commands us to be fruitful and multiply but i feel having a family with a dozen or so children is unfair to those children,
Why would it be, if the parents are properly caring for each child?
the older girls of the family are forced to play mommy when they themselves are still kids and deserve to have a childhood, the younger children do not get the kind of attention they deserve
You are describing symptoms of bad parenting here, not something that is a bygone result of having many siblings.
A parent should never establish a situation where they rely on their children to act as surrogate parents. The older siblings are not parents, and doing so not only creates an unfair burden as you suggested, but is unsafe and increases the risk of the tragedies you alluded to in your OP.
At the same time, children should be taught responsibility. If an 8 year old child gets herself or himself a cup of water, s/he should be taught to offer water to others in the family at the same time (including the parents!). This is good chinuch and though it has the side benefit of aiding in smoothing the house workload, it is not the same thing as becoming a surrogate parent.
Also, parents should continuously assess and monitor their children’s needs and how they are relating to each child. A lot of parents (including me) trend towards being goal-oriented (get them all up and out on time, get them to bed on time, get them fed, etc.), which is good, but carries the danger of going into auto-pilot mode (no news is good news). This must be overcome. Parents must connect with each child every day. This may take more creativity and effort with a lot of children, but I believe it can be done.
again this is my opinion and I may be wrong but I am entitled to my opinion no matter how unpopular it may be.
I think you are seeing an unfortunate situation and you are grappling with it, which is a good thing. I just disagree with you about the cause, which would also affect the discussed solutions.
In the Western world, frum Jews are pretty alone in having large families. We do not have as many guides and role models for how to effectively parent these types of families. Perhaps this is a place to begin making changes.July 31, 2013 4:26 pm at 4:26 pm #969118anothermotherParticipant
Goq, I don’t think it’s fair to generalize. First of all, those tragedies that you mention are just as prevalent among secular people who don’t have large families. Every summer, there are PSA’s about kids in cars and water safety etc. These things can r’l happen to ANY family, large, small, black, white, educated, any religion or none at all (there was a famous article in the Washington Post about parents who left their kids in cars, and it’s humbling to realize that yes, IT COULD BE YOU).
I do believe that having children needs to be thought through, and just because yenem has 12 doesn’t mean you should too. Children are a tremendous bracha, but it’s also the hardest thing you’ll ever do in life. Although a competent halachik authority must be consulted in these matters, the fact is that family planning is NOT assur. You can have a large family and still be smart about it, taking into account the needs of your particular family. But to insinuate that any particular number of children is “too much” is insulting. I know many double-digit families that are doing an amazing job, and I know some families in total chaos and dysfunction with just 1 or 2. It mostly has to do with the parents and family dynamics- family size is just a number.July 31, 2013 5:09 pm at 5:09 pm #969119oomisParticipant
Many double digit families that are doing an “amazing job,” are doing so because the mother has foisted the care of the younger children on the older one. And before anyone argues with me about that, I witness that personally ALL the time.
And a very real issue is that the children who are charged with this parenting responsibility are sometimes still in need of strong parental supervision themselves. I see six year olds watching 18 month olds by themselves. I have personally run across the street (and with my osteoarthritic knees that is no small feat, pun intended), to snap up that baby, as he was about to run into the street (and I am really tired of feeling responsible for the safety of these children whose parents are just not watching them).
The older girls (somehow it is never the boys) who end up caring for their infant siblings, may be getting experience at child care, but they are also often getting burned out at a very young age, being forced to spend most of their free time babysitting. I am sure there are exceptions to every rule, but on the whole, my observation is that this is what happens in many larger families.
I am not saying that all of the above cannot happen in small families, but it is less likely, based on what I see every day.July 31, 2013 6:00 pm at 6:00 pm #969120
Many double digit families that are doing an “amazing job,” are doing so because the mother has foisted the care of the younger children on the older one. And before anyone argues with me about that, I witness that personally ALL the time.
I wouldn’t argue with your experience, but I do contend that those families are NOT doing an “amazing job.”
And a very real issue is that the children who are charged with this parenting responsibility are sometimes still in need of strong parental supervision themselves. I see six year olds watching 18 month olds by themselves.
That is irresponsible and dangerous; however, lack of supervision isn’t limited to large families, although it may be more challenging to supervise a larger number of children.
I have personally run across the street (and with my osteoarthritic knees that is no small feat, pun intended), to snap up that baby, as he was about to run into the street
Kol hakavod for not standing idly by!
I am sure there are exceptions to every rule, but on the whole, my observation is that this is what happens in many larger families.
So do you think that this phenomenon is due to the largeness of the family itself, or the ignorance/unwillingness of the parents to do what it takes to be proper parents of their children? Do you think there is an objective limit to the number of children two parents should have? Should we advocate limits on the number of children we have, or bolster parental education and support geared towards larger families?July 31, 2013 6:16 pm at 6:16 pm #969121anothermotherParticipant
Oomis- the families that I think are doing an amazing job are most certainly NOT outsourcing their responsibilities to their older children. I see that happen too, and I don’t think very highly of them. Those are exactly the families that need to be more thoughtful about their decisions. I just don’t like grand statements that nobody should be having a dozen kids. It is possible for some, just not for everybody.
As to your point about girls- I can assure that I, at the very least, am not contributing to that problem. I only have boys so far, and they are fully expected to do age-appropriate chores because everyone who lives at home contributes at home. My future daughters-in-law will thank me 🙂July 31, 2013 9:38 pm at 9:38 pm #969122
There is no one-size-fits-all magic number of children. It depends on whether both the parents work, whether they work full-time, whether they can work from home, whether they have flexibility, whether their jobs offer on-site childcare, etc, not to mention the physical health, age, and actual domestic capabilities and motivations of both parents, and the temperaments and needs of the children. There are a LOT of variables involved. Some families can barely manage 2 children; others are fine with 8. However, everyone has a limit, whether it be 4, 6, or 20. A mother who is perfectly competent with 3 children might struggle to raise 7. And when you are overwhelmed and struggling, SOMETHING has to give. Either she will neglect her children, her work, or herself. So yes, having too many children can be a cause of unintentional neglect.August 1, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm #969123
You cant tell me that children part of a 12 child family get the same personal parental attention as children of a 6 child family, i think also that the child loses their sense of individuality they feel they are just part of the pack, just my thoughts unpopular as they may be.August 1, 2013 6:52 pm at 6:52 pm #969124
There is no one-size-fits-all magic number of children. It depends on…
I don’t think we are significantly disagreeing here – we are just focusing on the opposite sides of the coin. We seem to agree that it is not ok for parents to become so overwhelmed that they do not properly care for their children. The Goq seems to be suggesting that there is an objective limit to the number of children a family should have before it becomes unfair to the children, however, and that I disagree with. That number is a personal decision between husband and wife.
You cant tell me that children part of a 12 child family get the same personal parental attention as children of a 6 child family
I can tell you that I know people who were an only child who felt neglected and ignored by their parents. I also know families of two children where one sibling is obviously favored over the other, leading to feelings of neglect. Parenting a larger number of children may be more challenging than parenting fewer (and perhaps not feasible for some families as jewishfeminist02 said), but the efforts and quality of the parents plays the crucial role. I think you certainly have the right to observe and express concern that some parents do not seem to be doing a good job, but I don’t think you have the right to tell parents that they have too many children. Which one(s) should they give back?
Also, your views on the appropriate number of children to have are deeply affected by your cultural viewpoint. In the eyes of many in secular America, having 6 children is considered grossly irresponsible.August 1, 2013 7:52 pm at 7:52 pm #969125
“I can tell you that I know people who were an only child who felt neglected and ignored by their parents. I also know families of two children where one sibling is obviously favored over the other, leading to feelings of neglect.”
Agreed 100%.August 1, 2013 9:51 pm at 9:51 pm #969126
Avram you did not address what i said about loss of individuality do you want your child to be a individual or a robot is part of the collective?August 1, 2013 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm #969127nishtdayngesheftParticipant
I happen to know a number of families blessed with many children. North of a dozen. Anecdotally, your comment about a lack of individuality is way, way off base.
In these families that I personally know, the children all have distinct personalities and are accomplished in a number of ways. you could not in any way refer to them as group mentality, they each are so individual.
You are making an assumption, I am reporting my observations. And based on my observations, there is no basis at all to your suggestion.August 1, 2013 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm #969128zahavasdadParticipant
The large families I know the older daughters raise the younger siblings. The daughters are as young as 12 and acting as a little mommyAugust 2, 2013 6:43 am at 6:43 am #969129MammeleParticipant
From personal experience I can say that whether the mother works (for pay, doesn’t necassarily matter if she works outside the home or from home — which can actually be worse) has a greater effect on how much attention kids get or if they need to be surrogate mothers than the number of kids she has. And being from a large family does NOT make the child feel like he/she is just a number. Kids are usually at different ages (except multiples) are of both genders with totally different natures, aptitutes, and very often looks to be treated like a pack. And every half decent parent is well aware of their child’s “Malos” and “chasronos” and makes decisions accordingly (simple example: is he ready for summer camp?). There are issues of jealousy etc. to contend with, but kids develop good lifetime coping skills from the challenges they overcome. This whole “surrogate mother” issue is complicated as many older kids actually adore their siblings and prefer to “mother” them. Everything in moderation and dependent on the child’s age, but you can’t set blanket rules.
Also, kids that were “spoiled” growing up, regardless of family size, very often resent the fact that they were given too little responsibilities and are thus not equipped to handle life, especially their own family. Final point: I don’t see any “burned out kids” from helping at home, am I really that oblivious?August 2, 2013 9:52 am at 9:52 am #969130whatdoiknow99Member
Final point: I don’t see any “burned out kids” from helping at home, am I really that oblivious?
Coming from a large family myself ke”h, I can say there is such a thing as being burned out, and/or a feeling of taken advantage of that never ever leaves the person. Possibly, it would have happened if my family was smaller too, I do not know.
As for being just part of a group, I don’t think that is true. Even in a family of two, parents can show favoritism, and that will cause one child to feel like a nothing.August 2, 2013 1:17 pm at 1:17 pm #969131zahavasdadParticipant
Just because one lifestyle works for you doesnt means it works for everyone.
And just because you dont see something doesnt mean it doesnt exist. Many family problems are hidden from outsiders.
In the non jewish world there is a concept of keeping up with the Joneses meaninmg if my neighbor has something , It means I have to get it or one up him.
Unfortunatly in the charedi world this customs has been adopted, but unlike the ganzer velt where it applies to monetary things, It has applied to things like children or chumras. And its become unfortunat that if a woman only has 4 children she is seem as a nebuchAugust 2, 2013 3:42 pm at 3:42 pm #969132
Avram you did not address what i said about loss of individuality do you want your child to be a individual or a robot is part of the collective?
Your original parable spoke to a safety issue. Then it became about government assistance. Next personal debt. Then unfairness to older/younger siblings, and now individuality. If I respond to individuality, perhaps you will move the goalposts again and talk about living space and how unfair it is that children can’t have their own rooms, etc.
I get it. You think having too many children (which you seem to define as 10+) is bad. You have lots of reasons. My responses to your reasons are largely the same: you are describing poor parenting, poor decision making, and poor planning; factors that are not exclusive to large families.
To respond, individuality comes from within each child and can be encouraged or discouraged by parents, friends, teachers, siblings, and relatives, no matter how many children are at home, school, the park, or anywhere.
Someone can easily start a thread decrying families where both parents work, using many of your same arguments (latchkey kids are not supervised which is dangerous, older siblings must look after younger ones, or in the case of an only child, s/he has to look after her/himself, they are ignored, they frequently have to prepare their own meals which means poorer nutrition, etc. etc.). Is it fair to label all working parents’ families like that?
In my opinion, unpopular as it may be, we have an epidemic of unsupervised, unguided and inadequately parented children in this country, non-Jewish and Jewish, poor and rich, government assisted and tax paying, Borg and Starfleet, 10 kids and 1 kid. Parents are missing out on opportunities to connect with and raise their children or don’t even know how, and instead the kids are raising and learning values from each other in the streets and schools, which has resulted in a horrendously toxic youth culture. Everyone’s going to come to the table with different causes for this, and we all need to work on it.
Family problems are going to manifest themselves differently in different families, so you may see one set of problems more common in large families, and another set of problems more common in small families. But by pigeonholing the problem and stating that all ills are traced to too many children, the core issues risk being missed.
Can you really say that parents neglecting 6 kids would do better with 3? Or that parents raising a great family of 9 should not have a 10th, because that is just simply “too much”? I’m curious to hear your response.
Have a good Shabbos!
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