THE BLESSINGS OF MANY CHILDREN
[continued from yesterday]
...Now a large family implies many relations to be adjusted, many misunderstandings to be smoothed over, many arrangements for the mutual welfare of all. It is the mother of the family who has to do all this. It is by her instinctive tact and enduring patience that the family is held together. The more accomplished she is in this office, the brighter does she shine as an example of motherhood. And the greater will be her accomplishment in proportion as she has the greater number of children to care for.
In the case of the children it is a question of generosity or selfishness. Who has not looked with dismay on the spoilt child, the only one of the family? Who has not observed the ugly selfconsciousness, pride, and vanity of two children, the miserable two who have had no other companions but each other during the years when the foundation of their character was laid? And who has not seen the beautiful unselfishness and generosity of the children of a family of seven, or, better still, of a family of fourteen? Why, even their faults and their sins are due to excess of generosity, rather than to defect in It. The principle of give and take has been so often demanded of them and so often exercised, that it must have grown into a fixed habit by the time they come to separate and go their way in life apart. The boys have had their boyishness toned down by the gentle influence of the girls, while the girls have had their girlishness toned up by the strong influence of the boys.
Thirdly, a large family is a means of strengthen ing both the temporal and the eternal interests of the family. Even from a worldly point of view a father is working against his own interests in setting limits to his family from motives of economical selfishness. His view must be a broad one, however. The law of nature pervades the organization of society, even as it does the organization of the physical universe, and none the less does it there reflect the mind of God. It is, therefore, both the law of nature and the law of God that children should support their parents in sickness and old age. When, however, there is only one child or two, and these have wives and families of their own to support, there is little opportunity of supporting aged parents. But where the burden is divided, among say seven or eight families, then the aged couple have some hope of ending their days in reasonable and frugal comfort.....
From Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal
By the Rev. Thomas J. Gerrard
Author of "Cords of Adam," "The Wayfarer's Vision," ETC.
Copyright, 1911, by Joseph F. Wagner, New York.