What My Parents Taught Me About Love



John Wooden wrote, “The greatest thing a father can do for his children is love their mother.” I know from experience in a large family that having parents who love each other is crucial to a child. Among my earliest memories is waiting for dad to come home from work. At the time, I was one of only five children, and my dad was an English teacher at a high school in Fargo, North Dakota. When we heard his car pull up the driveway, everyone would whisper to each other, “Daddy’s home!” After this, we’d scramble to gather around the front door to receive hugs and then mom would give dad a kiss.

That was in the mid-nineties, and I’m now one of sixteen children, but I can honestly say that the most consistent thing I’ve ever known in my family is love. Mom has made a point of seeing that we are all gathered together for all three meals a day—it’s rare to eat separately from the family. Every morning when I was a child, dad would make breakfast for the young children and read aloud classics about friendship like Charlotte’s Web and the Chronicles of Narnia. Mom, too, loved storytelling and would read the Bible and more dramatized history books than I can remember while we practiced our drawing during homeschool.

My parents carefully taught each of us to love and respect each other. When there are fifteen other kids in the house, you automatically learn that sharing is unavoidable. If ever a fight arose between siblings, we were taught an important lesson: that speaking reconciling words, even if I didn’t mean them, taught me to using them meaningfully later on. For instance, many times when I was angry with my younger sister, mom would tell us to apologize to and forgive each other. We would force the phrases “imsorry” and “iforgiveyou” out grudgingly at the time, but today those phrases come to our aid now when we really mean what we’re saying.

Not only did our parents tell us not to fight, they also never fought. I grew up in a peaceful home, where my parents love each other deeply and never argue. Because we saw what it looked like to choose not to blow small matters out of proportion, my siblings and I also rarely fight.

In 2006, my family was featured on the US Learning Channel show Kids by the Dozen. Our Producer, Tracy, was curious about what kept our family together so well. After many interviews in front of the camera, my parents were able to solidify the forerunning message of our family: love. See, when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, He gave love as the answer. We are to love God and to love our neighbor, and the family unit is where the habit of loving others begins. Even if siblings have clashing personalities, they can learn to love. When troubles hit, love gives a family the ability to help each other through. If one of us is having a bad day, we are surrounded by friends and small children to cheer us up. Growing up in a large family that treasures love is a gift I wish more people had the chance to experience.


Cynthia Jeub is the third oldest of Chris and Wendy Jeub’s sixteen children. She is the published author of six books, the first of which was released when she was fifteen years old, a cookbook she coauthored with her mom. Her other works include another cookbook, and a four-part curricula for Christian homeschool Apologetics students in the United States. Cynthia currently studies Communication at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and in her spare time she loves having conversations about philosophy, writing, cooking, reading, and spending time with her family. Her other blog posts can be found at her family website, jeubfamily.com.


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6 thoughts on “What My Parents Taught Me About Love

  1. Wow! Cynthia, you make your mom and I proud. =)

    By the way, your mom and I have gotten into arguments over the years. I’m glad to know that they were always quickly resolved (the power of love!) and didn’t make that much of an impression on you.

  2. What about showing love to the wife by not getting her pregnant again so that she does not have to spend 3 months or more throwing up, a few more months with pains all over her body, have to be cut open in some cases, have to spend a few more months without sleep, have to drain all her energy to make milk? “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.” Ephesians 5:28. If men got pregnant, families would have only one child, I am sure of that!

    1. This is in reply to Lia. Despite not being a larger family advocate, I take issue with your stance. You are implying that by getting the woman pregnant, the man does not love her properly and that the woman has no say in the matter. You do know that these men are not forcing their wives to have babies don’t you? It’s the 21st century and women have rights. You are painting men as abusive for inflicting pregnancy upon their wives, when the wives most likely wanted to become pregnant themselves.

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