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Rachel Guy Schuchardt ’94

In the spring 2018 Bulletin, we profiled Read ’93 and Rachel Guy Schuchardt ’94, the parents of seven boys and three girls. Read responded, but Rachel (understandably) was too busy. Happily, she found time to add her voice to the mix despite her crazy schedule where she’s “at the end of the semester of homeschooling, musicals, bardic dinners, etc. It is a zoo around here. We also have a new grandchild born this month that I will be traveling to see. But here goes...”

What do you love most about what you do?

Honestly, the thing I love about what I do is that every day is meaningful. I never wake up in the morning wondering what it is all about, or if what the day holds will matter in the end. I live with a very deep sense of contentment. Sometimes life in our house is chaotic, but it is never dull. My adult daughter Constance, who is sitting chatting with me as I write this, says, “Sometimes chaotic?” and Read and I love the fact that we can share in this messy, difficult, and joyful collaboration. While it took me a little while to convince Read to join me on this adventure, with each child that we have had, we look at each other with a growing sense of amazement at the energy, diversity, creativity, and exuberance of the tribe we have created and wish more than anything that we could communicate our enthusiasm for robust family sizes in such a way that more people would give it a go. Recently, our daughter Marguerite was born at home. Our son Mercer was visiting with his wife and our first grandchild, Juniper, and we had good laugh thinking about the fact that Juniper may be the only niece we know of that attended the birth of her aunt. We’ve concluded that one of the best ways to really change the world is to have a bunch of kids, love them like crazy, give them a creative, outside-of-the box education, teach them to be creators and not consumers, and then unleash them on the world.

How has Swarthmore shaped your career—and your life?

More than anything, my Swarthmore professors (especially Craig Williamson) taught me to think outside the box, and to challenge every assumption I encounter in a search for truths that may be hidden. In this case, I think Swarthmore gave me both the courage to challenge the idea that my intellect and energy would be better spent pursuing a career that would more clearly fit the stereotypical high-achieving route, and the curiosity to explore this alternative lifestyle. In other words, Swatties tend to have the chutzpah to choose countercultural vocations, and I’ve loved having the chance to do this. I credit Dr. Lori Langbauer with awakening me to the reality of the power of the true feminine to change the world.

What advice would you give current Swarthmoreans hoping to follow in your path?

Buy a 15-passenger van as your starter car, and fill all the seats!

But more seriously, I would advise every current Swarthmorean to consider that the world is greatly in need of a large and lively batch of children raised by Swattie parents to reach every place on the planet with love, compassion, and intellectual integrity. Our best chance of doing this is by building a community of people like this from the ground up. Also, it is great fun, and when asked at dinner parties what you “do” you get to say mysterious things like, “I’m in fluids.”

Anything else you’d like to say?

The average American marries at 29 and has 1.4 children. Swatties have never been average, and I think we have a responsibility in this area to mindfully and soberly consider opening our hearts and homes to more children than this. There is nothing in this world more valuable or more lovely than the human person. Move the decimal place!