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THE FAMILY COMPOUND: WHY IT WORKS FOR US

Our resident family explores a close-knit life


We’ve mentioned before that we live very near our extended family.

The word “near” may be an understatement in our case.

You see, in reality, it’s something closer to “on top of” or even “all up in the business” of that family.

Some of our friends think we’re a little crazy, and some folks have even questioned our decisionmaking skills, but the truth is, it may well be the most sound decision we’ve made.

In any case, it’s become fundamental to our entire way of life, and we feel certain that all parties involved are reaping rewards. We field questions about it so often we decided to share why it works for us.

Our little slice of Southern Indiana heaven holds four dwellings and four generations: greatgrandparents, grandparents, parents and children. Together, we share the same address, the same mailbox and the same driveway, though, of course, the sharing runs much deeper than just simple physicalities.

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There’s always someone to hang out with when your family lives next door.

Between us are deep-seeded understandings and shared philosophies, common interests and
collaborated ideas.

This may sound rather utopian and unrealistic. So, in the spirit of full disclosure, we’ll admit to
the struggles as well.

Obviously, there is very little privacy.

For instance, we all know who comes and goes, and at what hour, etc.

Obviously, there is very little privacy.

For instance, we all know who comes and goes, and at what hour, etc.

Next, there are disagreements that naturally arise

The inhabitants here are a group comprised of particularly big personalities with strong opinions. We are not always on the same page in every matter, and this can be tricky at times.

And finally, as humans living in close proximity will do, we annoy each other from time to time.

Things don’t always get put back in the proper places, people aren’t always in the same mood as the others around them, child-rearing strategies sometimes differ. No, it’s not TV-sitcom perfection 100 percent of the time, but the benefits are so vast, we never regret them.

The sheer logistics of being so near make it wonderfully convenient. Say, you’re cooking a meal and need an ingredient, doing a project and don’t have the right tool, or moving something heavy and need a hand. There are three other households full of folks absolutely willing to help
out or lend an item at any time.

Next, immeasurable is the value of the village in which we are raising our children.

In our quiver are eight adults who love our kiddos and are able to shower them daily with wisdom, discipline and time. There is never a shortage of caring family members to share a story, help with schoolwork or reign down a little discipline. No bike tire goes unfixed, no injury
untreated and no indiscretion unnoticed.

When our Sydney received her driver’s permit, she had many more opportunities and individuals from whom to learn than her most of her peers.

Numerous occasions that warranted late night ER visits have been made much less stressful due to willing babysitters who could be there at a moment’s notice.

And when the younger kids and their cousins leave toys and sports equipment laying all over
the property, there is always a concerned relative at the ready to teach a lesson and supervise the clean-up.

Then, there’s the love between us, which supersedes any and all discord that has ever arisen here.

We don’t tolerate each other. Rather, we appreciate one another. We know we’re blessed to have this opportunity, and we choose to embrace this life every day. We look forward to continuing to raise our children in this manner, and, if we’re lucky, eventually a grandchild or two. Hopefully, we won’t drive the other family members on-site crazy in the process.


So, how do our kids feel? Here are their responses to questions we asked them about growing up so close to extended family:

QUESTION #1: WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT LIVING
WHERE WE LIVE?

BRAHM, 8:

“I always have someone to play with me and there’s always something cool to do. Papaw works outside and wants me to work with him, Uncle Cole lets me ride four wheelers and dirt bikes, and Ryder (his cousin) will play in the mud anytime you will let us. And Nanny has a LOT
of snacks.”

MOLLY, 11:

“I’m so glad we live where we live because I feel like it’s the safest place on earth. Everyone who lives here loves each other, and everyone would protect us no matter what. There’s always someone around to know we’re safe and also to help us with stuff.”

ELI, 14:

“It’s never boring here. We always have cousins to play with, friends visiting, people working on something or doing something outside. I love the family meals and the holidays and get-togethers. I love that I get to see my grandparents, aunt and uncle and cousins every day. Most
people I know don’t get to do that. I know I’m lucky.”

SYDNEY, 16:

“I just like having everyone around. It feels great knowing I have so much family surrounding me all the time. Everyone takes care of each other here and I know there’s someone to help me if I ever need it. This is a perfect place to grow up.”

QUESTION #2: IS THERE ANYTHING YOU DON’T LIKE?

SYDNEY

“I guess if you want privacy, this isn’t a great place to get it.”

ELI

“Sometimes, there’s an awful lot of people to lecture me.”

MOLLY

“If I get in trouble around here, everyone seems to know about it.”

BRAHM

“Nothing. I really love it all.”

 

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