The impact of a family

I saw this story posted a couple of places today about a study on how many of what gender kids in a family works best. The story said that parents of four girls report more noise and fighting than parents of two girls. My response? Duh. A two-girl family only involves one relationship between siblings (A with B), while a four-girl family involves six different relationships (A with B, A with C, A with D, B with C, B with D, C with D). Get it? When you have six times the amount of relationships going on, there is bound to be more conflict. The cool thing is there is an opportunity for a lot more love to be shared, too!

This got me thinking about my family of origin. I’m the oldest of seven siblings. So between the seven of us we have 21 different one-on-one relationships. Throw in my parents, and our family of nine has 36 different relationships. Wild, huh?

Let’s say Erin and I end up only having our four daughters. That’s 15 different relationships in our family. Now let’s say that each of our daughters marries and has, on average, 3 kids. Each one of their families would then have 10 relationships within it. Four daughters, that makes 40 relationships. If each of our 12 grandkids were to then have three children, add another 120 relationships to the mix. All in all, that’s 175 relationships just between those who are immediate family members of one another. Now watch this: One relationship – the marriage Erin and I have with each other – will profoundly affect all the rest. What an impact we have!

Erin and I are are coming to a greater understanding of the tremendous importance of family heritage. We receive an inheritance from our parents and grandparents that we can pass along to future generations. And we as parents can add to that inheritance that we pass along, as well. I’m becoming more grateful all the time for everything good I received from my parents. It will live on!

Of all I’ve received from my parents and grandparents, I’ll mention just one thing at the moment: In my young, formative years, I think my parents handled discipline really well with me. This had a positive impact on my forming character, and it gave me a healthy model that I am now able to use in training my daughters. I recently recognized (and this may sound a bit strange) that some of the times I most feel God’s love are the times when He is disciplining me. That is a gift from my parents. Hebrews 12 says that God disciplines those He loves, and I learned this because I felt my parents’ love when they disciplined me.

As parents, we cut off the negative things that inevitably get passed along from our ancestors, we receive the full inheritance from them, add to it, and pass it on. Who else wants to do that? Let’s not underestimate what loving our spouses and children will do to make this world a better place!

“A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children…”
Proverbs 13:22

(And by the way, I don’t for one minute receive what that study says about having four girls. We are so blessed by our four girls and experiencing and expecting so much good through them!)