Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cheaper by the Dozen

"I seen eleven of them, not counting the man and the woman," someone would shout from the sidewalk.
"You missed the second baby up front here, Mister," Dad would call over his shoulder.
Mother would make believe she hadn't heard anything, and look straight ahead...
"How do you feed all those kids, Mister?"
Dad would ponder for a minute. Then, rearing back so those on the outskirts could hear, he'd say as if he had just thought it up:
"Well, they come cheaper by the dozen, you know."
This was designed to bring down the house, and usually it did. Dad had a good sense of theater and he'd try to time this apparent ad lib so that it would coincide with the change in traffic. While the peasantry was chuckling, the Pierce Arrow would buck away in clouds of gray smoke, while the professor up front rendered a few bars of Honk Honk Kadookah.
Last week I reread Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. I must have read this book in a tender part of my teen years, because the time-motion study part of it made such an impression on my psyche. I am forever thinking about how to trim seconds off my normal daily routines!
What impressed me most this second time through was how the author portrayed the love in his family. He saw his dad's faults and knew his shortcomings, but he still felt loved and enjoyed his childhood. This is such a good thing for us parents to remember! We may try so hard to teach our children well, to impress upon them scripture and the love of God, to feed them well, and spend quality and quantity time with them, (all good things of course!) but what they will really remember is whether or not they felt loved. Someone recently told me that a study was conducted among families to see whether or not children of Christian parents eventually professed to be believers. The only common factor among all of those that did profess Christ was that they felt loved as a child!
So I recommend reading Cheaper by the Dozen if you haven't read it recently. It's funny and refreshingly real (but beware it may leave you wanting to have more kids!)

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