Thursday, May 10, 2007

The joy of large families

~from the Diocese of Nashville

Fisher, who grew up in a family of nine children, said she hopes to impart the same values to her children that she received from her parents. “Growing up in a big family helped me be selfless,” she said. “I had to constantly give … I think that’s why I’m capable of opening my heart to this many children.”

Having nine children “is a constant reminder that it’s not about me,” said Laura Turnage, a St. Joseph parishioner who has five girls and four boys ages 2-23. “God needed to teach me not to be selfish.”

Whatever she and her husband Les have given up to raise nine children, whether material possessions or personal free time, “doesn’t seem like a sacrifice,” Turnage said. The children “teach me a lot.”

The Turnage parents, who come from small families and are both converts to the Catholic faith, never expected to have so many children, but quickly embraced the church’s teachings on marriage and family. Their home is decorated with numerous religious paintings and statues, and the rosary is part of daily life.

Laura Turnage, who currently homeschools six of her children, teaches religion alongside math, English and geography, but teaching them how to know Jesus as a friend and always live their faith is the most important instruction she can give.

Watching her children grow into individuals, and nurturing each of their interests and talents, is one of the rewards of having a large family, Turnage said. “You mold them to a certain extent, to be responsible human beings,” but let them find their own path in life, she said.


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