Four Days with Nine

When children are obedient it is possible to raise nine of them! This was my realization over the weekend when both my brothers entrusted their children to us. Our 5 + Paul’s 3 + Peter’s 1.

We homeschooled them, fed them, put them to bed, read stories to them, played games, asked them to clean up after themselves, and requested that they follow our rules.

There was one occasion when Teegan (my older brother, Peter’s daughter) didn’t eat her breakfast so I explained to her that she could not eat Krispy Kreme donuts with everyone else at High Street. She had to wait until after she finished lunch. In the past, she would have fussed and given me a pout, maybe even cried. But since her parents have been diligent about disciplining her and teaching her to control her emotions, she nodded her head with understanding when I presented her with this consequence. At lunch, she cleaned her plate and got her donut after.

Another incident involved our own Titus getting upset about seating arrangements. He had a mini-meltdown but after Edric had a chat with him, he apologized to everyone for losing his temper.

Other than these occasions, having nine kids wasn’t burdensome at all. We did have househelp to assist us which made a difference. But I have seen one too many naughty kids needing several persons to manage them. This wasn’t the case with our nephews and nieces. They were a delight.

After every meal, they politely thanked Edric and me, even if they didn’t always like what we fed them. When we corrected them for leaving a mess, they immediately cleaned it up. There were no major fights to settle or cry-babies to appease. At night they complied with sleeping time and didn’t bother one another.

These pleasant behaviors brought me to the conclusion that it’s not so much the number of children one has that spells the difference between order and chaos. It’s the intentional training in obedience and respect that is the key.


I appreciated my siblings and their wives all the more after our baby-sitting experience. Since our kids interact with their kids alot it matters that all our children share the same values and attitudes about authority, treating one another with kindness, gratitude, and being well-mannered. Most important of all, my nieces and nephews love the Lord. Their hearts are tender and their desire to please God is evident. My kids are blessed to have their cousins as friends. I am thankful that for the good influence they are on our own children. Sometimes they can all get wild and crazy together, in the context of having fun, but they affirm the same biblical principles we teach our children.

Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭29‬:‭17‬ NASB)


One of the reasons why our children share similarities is due to the kind of relationship my siblings and I have (in-laws included). We hold one another accountable and LOVINGLY correct each other’s parenting styles when necessary. My parents still mentor us, too, which is a wonderful blessing.

For example, two years ago, my brother, Peter, and his family, came back to the Philippines after living in New York for over a decade. We all noticed that he and his wife, Jennifer, tended to be more child-centric with their three year old daughter, Teegan. They didn’t realize it as she had been the center of attention among all their couple friends, too. She was accustomed to getting her way or pitching a fit if she didn’t. When we all pointed this out to them, in a speak-the-truth-in-love sort of way, they received it well and responded to everyone’s suggestions. Today, Teegan is a transformed child! She used to chase Tiana and scare her, bullying her for the first few months that she was in Manila. Now, she and Tiana love one another so much!

The saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” seems to apply to our family. We share “best practices” with one another and treat each other’s kids as our own. But my own version is “It takes a family of Christ-centered parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins to raise Christ-centered children. The perspective of my siblings and parents (and even from Edric’s side of the family) helps guide our parenting goals and methodologies.

By God’s grace, Edric and I got through four days with a house full of kids by. When the weekend came to a close, we sat around the breakfast table with nine children thinking, hmm…this is fun, we could actually do this, we could have more! But for now we will borrow our nieces and nephews…I am not quite ready to be pregnant for the 6th time and I’ve got my hands full with five.



  1. So cute of the fair-haired children (referring to all of them) eating Filipino food – bangus and fried egg for breakfast! (“,)

    I enjoyed reading this story and looking at the photos. I remember my nephews and nieces when they are all in one place enjoying each other’s company (“,)

  2. che yap says:

    Hello Joy, I admire you and Edric on how you have raised your kids. You mentioned that Teegan was taught to control her do you teach this to your kids? or how did your brother do this? I have a 3 yr old daughter who cries when she doesn’t get her way or when she is reprimanded. we are a Christian home and have attended ccf parenting seminars. I also homeschool w TMA it’s so hard to apply and different for each child. hope you can give me some tips. Thank you

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have such high respect to people who discipline their children well. I believe that the benefits is really not for the parents but for the child to prepare them for their future. It is a great sacrifice for the parents and also a wonderful gift for the child. I also think that discipline is one of the parent’s ultimate responsibility anyway. I have to commend you on emphasizing the importance of trying to find the appropriate disciplinary methods that will work for a child since they all have their own personality. Having said this, I feel troubled whenever I see children not having the privilege to be disciplined the right way. I know that not everyone has the knowledge to handle certain situations, I am for sure one, but when I do not see the effort for parents to improve parenting skills, I lose my composure and have the tendency to dislike being around the parents :(. I am not sure how handle this. I have prayed for God to heal my heart and find a way to realize that it isn’t really my business. I only have the energy to help the children in a way that I could. I feel like I am not in the position to teach such parents on what to do. It’s just difficult to the point that my relationship with the parents is not ideal where I intentionally avoid interaction and feel down when I know have to spend some time with the parents. I know it is wrong but if you can shed some light, I really appreciate.

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