How to be a Family Guy
with Guy & Angie Penrod
So they’re not the Duggars. But with eight children—seven boys and one girl—between the ages of six and 20, you can’t exactly say that Guy Penrod and his wife Angie have a small family either.
How then does a guy who came from a family of four (that includes his mother and father), a former Gather Vocal Band member turned solo recording artist, and father of eight stay connected with his family?
“It is a difficult task and I’m sure open to suggestions,” Guy admits, “but I guess it boils down to basic things we have learned from the older ones in our lives.” That includes the many lessons he has learned from a man who was much like a father to him—Bill Gaither. Bill was very protective of the family and the time each member spent with his own. As such, Guy tries to limit his touring schedule to 80-90 concerts a year.
When he’s not on tour, rather than creating opportunities, Guy looks for opportunities. “I once heard it said that ‘the scheduling of quality time is impossible and that quality happens within quantity,’” he explains. “I believe that, and we do our best to approach our time with both our children and each other from that perspective.”
Everyday tasks like running errands become an opportunity for family time when the whole gang, or at least those who have finished their schoolwork, comes along. And when there is nothing on TV, which Guy adds is most of the time, the family heads outside.
The Penrods live in a 2,500 square-foot log house in the woods of middle Tennessee. With 10 people at home, it’s almost impossible not to spend time with each other. But Guy uses this to his advantage. “The beauty in the cramped spaces is that it produces ‘forced community,’” he shares. This is a concept that reminds him of a simple truth from one of their favorite country songs by Doug Stone called “Love Grows Best in Little Houses.”
Angie points out, “Time with each child is created naturally (which is by God’s design) by their age specific needs and unique phases in life.” From bath times and story times to study dates and late night talks, each stage is a way to stay connected.
Of course, each stage also has its own set of challenges. And when it comes to dating, Guy and Angie admit they are relative “newbies.” All along they have encouraged their children to form friendships with others who are like minded and share the same faith. Guy explains that this allows them to get to know each other better in a protected environment, in other words safety in numbers. They believe alone time is reserved for those who are on their way to marriage. For Guy and Angie, marriage came at a young age. Guy was 21 and Angie was 19. Since marrying young worked well for them, they pray for the same opportunity for their children so as to allow them to grow up together with their spouse and avoid many of the challenges that come from getting set in their ways. However, Guy also adds with a smile, “When it comes to our one and only little girl, she will not be allowed to date until she’s 81.”
Guy and Angie try to avert parenting problems with open communication and by laying the groundwork. They have a “no privacy” policy for the children regarding their conversations and they keep computers in common areas of the house. Although often time consuming, this is a loving way to protect and train their children.
“We talk openly every day about the issues of parenting,” Angie shares. “To parent a child is one of our greatest privileges in life and we pray for the Holy Spirit’s presence and lean on God’s Word constantly.”
As a wife, Angie also encourages Guy to be a better father by praying for him, rather than nagging him (1 Peter 3:1). If she notices that one of their boys needs extra daddy time, she challenges Guy to turn off the TV and spend some one-on-one time with him.
“Guy is humble, gentle, patient and loving,” Angie says. “He prioritizes his family time and we (the rest of the family) benefit by having him very present as the father and husband.”
She explains that when Guy walks through the door, he doesn’t step over a mess, he picks it up. And at mealtime, he doesn’t sit down until Angie sits down and everyone is served.
“Guy is a great leader because he leads by example in the ways of God,” Angie states.
“We, as everyone does, have walked through our share of trials. And as we have, my sons and daughter have seen a father who calls on God in an honest and open way,” she continues. “He teaches with words, but the most effective teaching comes from the way he lives.”