What’s it like being part of a huge family?
Doesn’t it get so crazy or chaotic at home?
How did your parents cope with all of you?
These are a few of many questions I get asked when people find out that I belong to a big family.
Well, let me tell you this first of, it is such an honor to be a part of a massive family!
I am the eldest of 8 children. 5 girls and 3 boys.
It hasn’t always been easy with the 8 of us but it has always been fun and crazy.
Do I like being a part of such a massive family? YES! It’s never a dull moment.
I remember when we were kids, we always had a play mate and always came up with all these different games with one another. Of course it wasn’t all merry all the time. Arguments came about due to not being able to play the game we specifically wanted as the majority voted the other game or someone else was playing with the toy you wanted to play with or we just didn’t get along at all while playing with one another. But hey, that’s normal with all siblings isn’t it?
Not only does having many siblings prevent you from being lonely most of the time, it has also taught all of us different virtues and life lessons. It’s not very easy to have so many siblings around you all the time and have to deal with them on a daily basis. At times it can get very frustrating and annoying however, this is where the self-development comes in.
Here are some of many lessons I’ve learnt from being a part of a big family:
– Yes. A very important characteristic that up to now I am still struggling with. I am not the most patient person in the world and like to get things done quickly, and have everything neat and orderly but that’s not necessarily how my siblings are like. Some of them are the slow type and don’t really have the eye for things to be neat (at least to my standard!) which can be very frustrating on my part. However, in order to be able to live harmoniously with them, I had to learn to embrace their own characteristics and be patient on them.
– It is just very impossible to be very self-focused being in a large family as there is always got to be at least one person that is needing your help. Not everything will go the way you want it to be. Not everything will be as nice as you would like it to be. There is always others that you have to think about. Others that you need to share with. Starting at an early age, my parents have always taught us to be self-giving. To give in to your younger siblings needs at times. To share your toys with everybody. To take care of your sibling when they are hurt or sad. To do little deeds and favours for one another. It would have been hard probably the first few times when we didn’t get what we wanted but instead the other sibling did, but later on we both ended up enjoying and sharing that happiness together.
3. Working as a team
– Sometimes it may seem easier to work on your own and just get things done, however, it’s a bit hard when there’s so many of you and the work load ends up to be 10x more. As we grew older, we slowly started to do jobs and chores around the house. Of course the initial reaction was negative but when we realized that if we all worked together to accomplish a task, it gets done quicker and therefore allows us to get back to what we were wanting to do. Being able to work along side each other didn’t only help us get the job done quicker but also allowed us to bond in such a way. Now, as we do our dinner chores we end up having a party, playing our favourite songs on full blast and jamming along. Chores end up something fun instead of something long and boring.
– This for me is a big thing. Respect for one another. Without respect for one another, the household will be filled with arguments and unhappiness. Everyone wants to be respected whether they are a family member or not. We all want to be treated well and with dignity and I think that is very important in a family whether big or small. As kids we were taught to respect our elders and those around us. Show respect to our teachers and schoolmates. Show respect to the person who is talking. Show respect to our siblings older or younger. Respect is one that we owe to everyone.
– With all of us having different personalities and attitudes, we all can’t possibly think a like and have the same thoughts and ideas on certain things. Sometimes I might think that everyone should have the same as idea as me but really half of my siblings disagree. To be honest, we get into arguments because we don’t understand one another at times. We don’t get why they’re like that or why they have reacted in that way or why they are being so moody. We don’t understand why that certain action would get them angry or annoyed. We fail to understand their thoughts. It is very important to step into their shoes and see it from their perspective and give time to understand them. Only then can you really be able to give of yourself with full love.
“Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring — quite often the hard way.” — Pamela Dugdale
I have to say, seeing that most of us are now grown up, with only 2 who haven’t reached their teenage years just yet, all 8 of us have come a long way. I’m surprised how we dealt and managed each other all these years! Being the eldest, it’s so amazing to be able to see how my siblings have grown and what path in life they have or will take. It’s nice to see the differences we all have and how in a way it comes together so nicely.
I am ever so thankful towards my parents for all the hard work they have put into raising all of us. I know it wouldn’t have been easy on their part but seeing my siblings grow up, I can say that they have done the best that they could. They have taught us so many life lessons to live by and couldn’t thank them enough for that. But most especially from my part, thank you for giving me the greatest gift of all, the gift of siblings. I have now so many memories to treasure for the rest of my life whether we will be separated or close by as we go off on our life journey.