Our kids made this collage of past family photos to surround the central theme of our home life: “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” It hangs on our dining room wall as a constant reminder of the need for a healthy home life of love and peace.
Over the years, Kaye and I have been blessed with great family joys, wonderful shared experiences. We have raised ten children, including an adopted Mexican daughter, a boy adopted from Brazil, and the 3 triplets (!). Each has one’s own special gifts and capacities. They are quite a bunch and they definitely possess their own unique personalities. Among other things they include kids who studied at a total of 14 different colleges and universities, and have various degrees from 2-year associates to graduate degrees in business, law, and policy. In terms of jobs and/or careers their interests and experiences are wide and varied, ranging from working at area ski resorts like Robert Redford’s Sundance to restaurants, from Fortune 500 corporations to large consulting companies, from security firms to call centers, from IT services to woodworking, from the practice of law to architecture, from mechanics to linguistics, from being a pilot to fast food services, from retail stores to hair salons. They have various language skills consisting of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, and Mandarin Chinese. They have lived and worked around the globe including Africa, Europe, Latin America, and from the East Coast to the West Coast, from Houston to the Washington, DC area, from Arkansas to Oregon. In many respects, our kids enjoy travel and seem willing to work almost anyplace that offers adventure.
It should be noted that we not only were blessed with many children, but we also enjoyed having a number of other young adults live in our home, each for a year or so. It didn’t seem like we had sufficient space since our house had only four bedrooms, but by doubling or tripling up the number of kids per room, we survived, whether sleeping in bunk beds, the basement, or the garage which was converted into a people bedroom rather than an automobile bedroom.
We’ve kept quite close with most of these “expanded” members of our family, and treasure our years together. We still see some of them, their spouses and kids who we also consider extended family.
These great friends lived with us for room, board and salary as they sought to attend college, and either they needed a place to stay, or a support system, or we needed extra help because of health problems or the sheer challenge of trying to manage so many children and their activities. The first names of these special young adult “children” are Maris and Mariane who came to us from Brazil; Debbie and Monica from Oregon; Charity from California; Jenaee who went with us for a year of college in Hawaii when we enjoyed a sabbatical; Shanna from North Carolina, who lived with us several years before and after her mission to Los Angeles (Spanish speaking); and Cassandra (Cassie).
So if you total all these individuals up, the number is 18. The sheer number suggests the old adage that “it takes a village to raise a child.” Teaching, working with, helping to educate and learning to love so many wonderful persons in our home has been a great joy and a lot of work. But most of all, it’s been a sacred trust that Kaye and I have tried to be worthy of, hoping to support each youngster in their life’s goals and dreams, learning from them as they learned from us as well. Kaye has been the greatest asset in all of this because she is so skilled at managing people, handling large groups, and dealing with complexity. As a professor of Organizational Behavior, I must confess, I learned more about organizations, systems, and team building from my wife and children than I ever learned during my PhD studies, BYU career, or corporate consulting with Fortune 500 firms.
We have been blessed with posterity that includes delightful grandchildren of multiple ages and personalities. Here’s a sample of a few of them: