Wonderful book! The Catholic Family Handbook

From The Catholic Family Handbook, Rev. George A. KellyIphone Jan 7, 2013 027

Advantages of the Large Family 
Before marrying, many young couples decide how many children 
they will have--a decision which often reveals 
that they are more concerned with how few children they will have 
rather than how many.

Thus they begin their marriage with intentions of limiting the number 
of off spring. In this respect they reflect the 
birth-control frame of mind so prevalent today--a frame of
mind which  regards children as a liability rather than a blessing.

Although the first purpose of marriage is the procreation of children, 
Catholic couples will not necessarily have offspring. There may be many 
reasons why they cannot have babies or why they are limited to one or 

Some wives have difficulty in carrying a fetus to full term and 
have many miscarriages. Sometimes the husband or wife may be sterile--
unable to do his or her part in conceiving a new life. There may be 
mental, eugenic, economic or social reasons which make it justifiable 
to practice the rhythm method. The fact that a Catholic couple has no 
children, therefore, is no reason for concluding that they are guilty 
of any moral lapse.

In most marriages, however, there probably are no physical hindrances 
to births or justifiable reasons to limit them beyond those limitations 
which nature herself and unchangeable circumstance impose. Hence the 
typical Catholic family will have many more children than are found in 
the average family of other beliefs.

The large family provides many distinct advantages for both parents and 
children. For instance, it brings the mother and father closer 
together, giving them a joint source of love, and they achieve a closer 
sense of unity in planning for their children's welfare. Their love for 
each child extends their love for each other, and in each child they 
can see qualities which they love in their mates.

Children help parents to develop the virtues of self-sacrifice and 
consideration for others. The childless husband and wife must 
consciously cultivate these qualities, for the very nature of their 
life tends to make them think first of their own interests. In 
contrast, a father and mother who might have innate tendencies toward 
selfishness learn that they must subjugate their own interests for the 
good of their children, and they develop a spirit of self-denial and a 
higher degree of sanctity than might normally be possible.gin's pics 318

The fact that children help to increase harmony in marriage has been 
proved in many ways. The sociologist Harold A. Phelps, in his book 
"Contemporary Social Problems," reports that 57 per cent of the 
divorcees in one large group had no children and another 20 per cent 
had only one child. Other researchers have established that the 
percentage of divorces and broken homes decreases as the number of 
children in the family increases.

Large families also teach children to live harmoniously with others. 
They must adjust to the wishes of those older and younger than 
themselves, and of their own and the other sex. In learning to work, 
play and, above all, share with others, the child in a large family 
discovers that he must often sacrifice his own interests and desires 
for the common good. For this reason, the "spoiled child" who always 
insists on having his own way is rare in the large family, if he can be 
found there at all. For the child who will not co-operate with others 
has a lesson forcibly taught to him when others refuse to co-operate 
with him.

In the typical large family, one often sees a sense of protectiveness 
in one child for another that is the embodiment of the Christian 
spirit. Children learn to help each other--to hold each other's hands 
when crossing the street, to sympathize with each other in times of 
sadness or hurt, and to give each other the acceptance which we all 
need to develop as mature human beings. This willingness to help one 
another is often strikingly evident in schoolwork: the oldest child 
instructs his younger brother in algebra, while the latter helps a 
still younger one in history.

Another advantage of large families is that they teach each child to 
accept responsibility for his own actions. Unlike the mother with one 
or two children, the mother of a large family usually lacks the time 
and energy to concern herself with every little problem of her 

She must observe sensible precautions with her children, of 
course, but she is not guilty of supervising her child's life to such 
an extent that he has no chance to develop his own resources. 

Precisely because she cannot devote her full time to him, he must make decisions 
for himself. Moreover, he acquires a better understanding of the rules 
by which the family is run. He sees his brothers and sisters punished 
for various breaches of conduct and learns what he himself may and may 
not do. 

And as he watches the progress of older children, he learns 
what privileges he may expect as he too advances in age. This knowledge 
gives him a greater sense of security.

Another reward for members of the large family, to which those who are 
now adults can testify, is that it gives the children close relatives 
upon whom they can depend all their lives. Occasionally, of course, 
brothers and sisters cannot agree as adults and break off relations 

More often, however, they retain a close bond of kinship 
with each other and the reunions and family get-togethers on occasions 
like Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter form one of the great joys of 
their lives.  April 7, 2014 059-001

In most cases, the child brought up in a large family 
never feels utterly alone, regardless of adversities which may strike 
in adulthood. 

If he is troubled or bereaved, in desperate need of financial 
help or sympathetic advice, he usually can depend upon 
brothers and sisters to help. Forlorn indeed is the man or woman who, 
in time of stress, has no close and loving relatives to tell his 
problems to.

A final, but by no means least important, advantage is that they 
virtually insure the parents against loneliness, which has often been 
called the curse of the aged. 

How often do the father and mother of a large family 
remain young at heart because of the love they give to, 
and draw from, their grandchildren? 

In fact, many say that old age is their happiest time of life 
because they can enjoy to the fullest the love of the children and 
grandchildren without the accompanying responsibility. 

On the other hand, how lonely and miserable are the 
typical old people who have no children or grandchildren to love them?

One should not overlook the fact that there are some disadvantages to 
both parent and child in the large family. However, an objective review 
of these disadvantages would surely establish that they are outweighed 
by the advantages. 

For example, the large family may require the parents to make great 
financial sacrifices. They may be unable to afford as comfortable 
a home, own as new an automobile, or dress as well as can the 
husband and wife with a small family. 

But they have sources of lasting joy in the love, warmth and affection of their 
children--a joy that money cannot buy. The children of a large family 
may also be required to make sacrifices. 
Their parents may be unable to pay their way in college. But this need 
not mean that they will be denied educational opportunities. 

Thanks to scholarships, loan programs, and opportunities for 
student employment, the bright boy and girl who truly desires 
a college education can find the financial resources to obtain one. 

And having to earn at least a part of their own way 
will make them better students. Researchers have established 
that students who drop out of college most frequently have had all 
their expenses paid for them and have never learned the true value of 
an education.
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