Growing up in Knoxville, Tennessee, I was the only daughter of Dale and Ruth Hilton (unfortunately not the Hilton family of hotel fame). My Dad came from a family of 7 and my Mom was one of 16. I was blessed with only one brother, Mike, who was 7 years old when I came along and, I think, resented me for taking his status as only child away. And maybe for pestering him all the time as well.
Since my Mother’s family were original pioneers to Tennessee, we were related to just about everyone. Which made finding a husband locally a bit of a challenge. So I married a young man from New York named Bob. That was 52 years, 4 children and 9 grandchildren ago – and so much fun!
Big families are great because there is always someone to talk to, even when you are airing differences about other family members. Before long, a game of “round robin” ensues – one family member calls the next and then the next, until eventually the issue is whittled down and ironed out, and eventually goes away. My own diverse bunch has worked its way through so many situations over the years, I’m sure I could write a book about it. Or create a reality show – in fact, I have a sign in my house that says, “my family is God’s favorite sitcom.”
Recently, our gang experienced a new kind of bonding – bible study. My youngest daughter, Rory, lives in Austin and is very active in her church’s Community Bible Study. The church is rolling out a virtual bible study group, that allows people to join from anywhere they may be. She asked us to trial it for her, since we are spread out between The Woodlands, California, Austin, Nashville and Scotland. The logistics put the system to the test, to say the least! But alas, we all agreed.
We have been participating for five weeks now, and even managed a call this past Saturday despite my husband and me being in Maine, and Rory being on vacation with her family in South Dakota. There have been wifi problems, barking dogs, business call interruptions and children popping their faces into the picture, and still it seems to be working so far. I will confess that I sometimes copy my husband’s answers, but only because he takes studying very seriously, and I could not figure out how to download the Bible app. I do have a Bible for Dummies, so perhaps I should try that for next week.
We have two more classes left, and I personally think that our trial will be reported back as a huge success. Of course, the lessons (which should probably only take 30 minutes) take the better part of an hour, because our group likes to ham it up and vie for air time, but that is part of being a large family, and we like to think that God will understand.
Bottom line is to remember that families are the best part of our lives. So whatever the size of your family, remember to spend time together and just enjoy every moment, whether working through an issue, taking a summer vacation or joining a remote bible study together.