I've come to the conclusion that the college environment is not a huge fan of big families...
Recently in psychology, we looked at a graph that showed how IQ relates to family size. One-child families were at the top of the chart, and scores began to decrease as family size increased. The largest family size shown on the graph had only five children, so as a family with eight kids we must have unbelievably low IQ scores!
A few days later in Spanish class, the professor was doing a verb usage exercise and asked a student to tell the class something he would have to do if he lived with a large family...the answer she was looking for was "Tengo que compartir" which means "I have to share". However the boy answered with "How do you say 'I have to be crazy'?".
I actually thought both of these class experiences were funny, but they also made me think... There are people who really do think we are crazy or irresponsible for having such a large family. Honestly, it doesn't even feel that big to me. When people make disapproving comments about our family size I just want to scream "Well who do you think doesn't belong?!". Every single person in my house has a place, and the broad range in age, background, and personality is an asset to our relationships with each other, not a detriment. I cannot imagine having even one less person in our house. We all need each other!
Tekle can make Aaron laugh easier than anyone else on the planet. Janaya is the only one who is passionate enough about animals to join my mom on her pet rescue missions. Isaac is the resident dance choreographer, and teaches his techniques to the younger kids. Peter can motivate Janaya to keep her teenage mood-swings in check better than anyone else in the house. If Tekle hadn't joined our family, Aaron would be unbearably spoiled (He's already very "well-nurtured" as we like to call it). Lacy's optimistic outlook on life and cheerful disposition can shake me out of my worst moods faster than almost anything else (except maybe chocolate). Peter and Jesse exhibit a playfulness with Tekle and Aaron that probably wouldn't be seen if they didn't have significantly younger siblings. Isaac and Lacy share a similar sense of humor, and will often break out into uncontrollable laughter as the rest of us roll our eyes.
I could go on and on... but as you can see, my siblings and I are all connected in different but very valuable ways. Some of us were born in different decades, different countries, and different circumstances, but together we make a complete family unit. Every single one of us belongs. And if the cost is a few IQ points, I believe it's worth it!