Back Off
Off The Wall - May 14, 2009

Throughout the years I have lived in the city of Latrobe, I have met several couples, some with one or two offspring, and others with as many as eleven kids in the family. A matter of fact, right off the top of my head (under my hair), I know of three families in the greater Latrobe and Derry areas that had eleven children, some born into the nuclear family, and others adopted developing a blended family.

I remember when I had a store, one couple yearly came in to purchase identification photos for the purpose of going to Russia to adopt 11 children from one family over a period of so many years. I admired that. Their objective was to keep the family together – and they succeeded.

Some of you may remember the 7th Heaven television series. Annie and Eric Camden had seven children. Now you may be saying, “That was only a TV show. It was just a stage performance, so in all likeliness it wasn’t true at all.” Probably not, but that’s not to say people still do have large families about the size as the Camdens.

Take Edgar and Ethel Whoople. He fathered eight children, one more than Eric, and both Edgar and Ethel raised their children to love the Lord with all their hearts, honor their parents, and love the neighbors as their selves. They are very respectable, gentle children who always are in the best of behavior wherever they go or are seen. That not only speaks well for the Whooples, but how these kids were brought up as well.

Another such family that has nine kids is the Hooleys. I have come to admire Jacob and Henrietta and family as well. Each child, in the presence of the public, is “angelic.” I’ve been among families with one to two children, and none compares to the behavior of these offspring. A matter of fact, it’s a whole different world when I am around the Hooley children. Do you think the parents waved a magic wand and presto, they became well-mannered individuals, or was it the combination of discipline and proper upbringing that was the ticket? What do you think? I have to believe it was the latter. No one can wave anything over a kid’s head and expect miracles, except maybe in a healing ceremony.

So you see, there is something the Whooples and the Hooleys have very much in common besides a deep love within each nuclear family that bonds them together. In addition, I have to stipulate that all the children in both families are very well groomed, always look neat from head to foot, wear clean, pressed clothing, and never ever appear disheveled.

Recently I learned some disturbing news. Both families are being looked down upon wherever they go. Edgar told me when he took his children to the playground recently, a “gentleman” approached him and boldly stated, “Boy, you have your hands full! Are they all yours?” No, the father replied sarcastically, “They belong to the milkman!”

What gives anybody the right to tell others what they can and cannot do? Doesn’t the Holy Scriptures tell us, “Go forth and multiply?” It doesn’t tell us to subtract once it gets to the sum of its parts, does it?

“Back off.” If the Whooples, Hooleys or other families like them want to raise six, eleven or more children, and they have the means to do so, all the more power to them. If these two very loving couples feel led by the Holy Spirit to bring children into the world, they should feel free to do it.

For the general public to give these wonderful people evil stares is something only reflecting what is in their hearts is demeaning to say the least. If this column speaks to any of you that may be doing this very thing, I would recommend you change your ways and clean up your act, plain and simple.

You show me where it is written in the Bible, “Go forth and look down upon your neighbor, criticizing him for everything you couldn’t have, failed to try to have, or are just plain jealous to those whom may have something greater than you do.” You aren’t going to find it. If you do, it surely isn’t in the Holy Scriptures handed down by a loving God such as we know today.

Remember, love is like peanut butter. It always sticks when you spread on just a little bit


- Paul J. Volkmann
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