I am the second oldest in a family with nine children.
There are six boys and three girls which is a pretty large family by today’s standards.
My parents are the same age, married at 26, and soon after began contributing to Earth’s population.
Due to my family’s strong Christian beliefs, my dad was the sole provider for the family while my mom stayed at home to raise the children.
This of course meant that we were by no means wealthy. We children quickly learned that nothing was to be taken for granted in life because all you had was what you worked for. No allowance, ever. So if we wanted any spending money we had to go out and earn it.
As a four year-old, I began helping my dad push the mower as he mowed our lawn and then moved onto working for my dad in his little landscaping side-business, raking lawns, sweeping sidewalks all at the young age of 6.
After a while, working for my dad for a measly $0.25 per hour was no longer enough to keep me happy, so I branched off into my own mowing business. I began mowing neighbors and friends’ yards or weeding flowerbeds, pretty much any type of landscaping work that would pay me better than my dad.
Around the age of fourteen, I began hiring my younger brothers to help me out as “business was booming”. Much to their dismay, I actually made them work hard for the little money they earned, and they returned the favor by nick-naming me the “Taskmaster”. But us boys had a lot of fun working together and enjoyed spending the money we earned.
Of course with so many children in our small 3-bedroom house there was rarely a quiet moment – somebody was always doing something and/or making noise. We six boys shared one room, three sisters has the smaller room, and then my parents has the third room.
For us boys, there was a triple-set bunk bed and then regular bunk bed with a roll-away mattress. My noisy upbringing helped me to cultivate my precious skill of being able to tune out pretty much anything. My parent’s religion prohibited the use of TV or video games, and that left us children with the option of reading books, or doing outdoor activities.
Needless to say, I became an addicted bookworm.
Books became my single outlet to forget my childish troubles or simply entertain myself. Our education was provided by our church’s private academy and since it was basically a two-room school for K-12, I went to school every day with my siblings. It wasn’t so bad since I never knew any real time apart from my family.
With so many children, it’s sometimes easy to get lost in the shuffle as there was no real time for our parents to spend spoiling us. My parents tried hard to ensure that every child was treated fairly, but with so many children and so many things happening all the time we all quickly learned that life wasn’t fair.
When I was younger, I sometimes wished that I didn’t have so many siblings, but now that I’ve left home, I can see that growing up in a large family was really beneficial in shaping my personality and views on other people and life in general. Each one of us children was so different and yet we learned to get along…(half-way decently), so now when I run into people and make new friends it is a little easier for me because I’m used to having to co-exist with a wide range of personalities.
I’ll admit that I have in some ways tried to over-compensate for some of the amenities I didn’t have as a child.
I am by no means a splurger, but my taste leans toward a classy lifestyle. For instance, I drive a newer fully-loaded car, rent an apartment in a new upper-scale complex, and my furnishings are trendy. In some ways, growing up having to share pretty much everything with my siblings might have made me slightly selfish now.
One example is that I am quite adamant about living alone; because I had 5 roommates my entire life, I am quite content to have my own apartment entirely to myself.
But other than those two vices, growing up in a large family made me appreciate all the little things in life and instilled a strong desire to succeed in life both financially and personally.