Family Sized

Our family went out for dinner last night to celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday. At the counter of the salad-bar restaurant, I was struck by something that I often see or hear: Posted on the glass was a coupon for a discount for a family meal. So what, right? Well, to them, “family” meant 2 adults and 2 kids. If you had more than that, you couldn’t get the discount. In our family, we happen to have 3 kids and 3 adults, as David’s mom lives with us. But even if extended family like that didn’t count, we’d be over their limit.

So why did this bother me last night as opposed to all the other times I’ve seen it? Well, I’ve been bothered by it before when I’ve heard a local radio station give away “family 4 packs.” I never try to win those prizes, because then I’d be leaving someone out. Even Disney World, the “happiest place on earth,” gets in on the conspiracy: If your child wins the Disney Doers and Dreamers award at their school, they only get 4 tickets to the park. If my child wins, which family member gets left out?

This might be pushing things a bit, but it spoke to me of how our society as a whole does not value children. Look at all the flack the Duggars have taken. Amongst my friends, we often joke about how outnumbered we are. The mom of one of my students recently invited all the teachers of her 3 boys to dinner at their house. They are new to our school, but wanted to keep the tradition they had started when their first child started school. Only, in the past, their boys had each had one teacher, and some of them were single, or older with no kids still at home. This year, their kids each have two teachers, and each of us has more than the requisite 2 kids. In fact, when added all together, the 6 of us have 23 kids.

Yes, family size is a choice–although sometimes it’s just God’s choice, not the choice of the family who might have wanted more, but God allowed them fewer for whatever reason–but wouldn’t it be great to see some advertisement or coupon stating that, whatever the size of your family, you get the discount? Why not just a “family pack,” adjusted to whatever size your family happens to be? Why doesn’t Disney just award a certificate for “family entry”? They could specify that it’s limited to nuclear families only. Now, granted, Disney doesn’t have to give away anything, and I should be grateful for what they do, but it’s just another of those subtle way of saying “smaller families are better.”

Most people I hear are appalled at the family-size limitations China dictates, but we get the same message in a more subtle way. My friend who just had her 6th kid hears, Are they all yours?” Like that’s just crazy.

Am I overreacting? Maybe. What do you think?

Psalm 127:3-5: “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.”

Thankful today for:

264. my 3 children

265. the rain

266. finding muffins in the refrigerator

267. a day off after an emotionally hard day

268. seeing God’s provision after I labor over our budget

269. the kids’ excitement over a hailstorm in the spring

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4 thoughts on “Family Sized

  1. I only have two kids, so you can take this with a grain of salt. I understand your point, but I think it’s just easier for restaurants/Disney/etc. to use the “average” of 2 kids per family. I think the fear would be people claiming “extra” kids (their kids’ friends, maybe) as their own for a discount–especially if it’s Disney giving tickets away. It’d be a lot of trouble for them to have parents prove the kids are really theirs. I don’t think they’re trying to say “more than two kids is bad,” I just think they’re taking the lazy way out.

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