Updated: Jun 9, 2018
*Please note: this article is mistakenly attributed to Emily - it is written by Trent Hess.*
Diving into the vision of Home Fire.
My (Hess) Grandparents had six children. My (Miller) grandparents had four children. Grandpa Miller was one of ten children (plus a baby who died) and Grandma Miller was one of three. Grandpa Hess was one of nine children and Grandma Hess was one of seven (one of her sisters died as a child).
Just two generations ago large families were the norm. I'm talking large families of a size that would be viewed as bizarre today. This was normal.
I realize that there are a lot of reasons for this, one being the obvious fact that birth control didn't exist. I'm glad we have birth control options and I'm not advocating for women to keep bearing children even at the risk of their physical or mental health. I also understand that cultural views about what is "normal" are always shifting, but I think the pendulum has swung too far.
Just a couple generations ago many more families (especially in rural areas) relied on farming, and a larger family was helpful to do the necessary work. One of our goals here is to make it normal to have a large family (however you define large). We hope parents may consider having a fourth or fifth child, whereas in my generation (I'm in my thirties) it was just taken for granted that to two or three is the "right" number of kids.
We live in Lancaster County, PA, home of the largest Amish population in the country. For the Amish, large families are still very normal. The estimated Amish birthrate is 6-7 births per woman compared to less than 2 in America at large. The result of this is that the Amish community is doubling about every 20 years. They are running out of affordable land here in Lancaster County and are now moving into counties all over PA, and into NY, MD, TN, and beyond. In fact, Amish communities can now be found in over 30 states.
I can't help but think, what if this was the evangelical Christian community?
What if we regularly had large families, and saw our churches filled, our families moving to towns and cities all over the country, and our young people setting the tone in our schools, colleges and workplaces. Instead of population stagnation our country would be growing with caring young people raised to know God and the Bible and to understand and love their country.
I think this can happen.