Swimming Upstream with the Duggars
I had just concluded a lecture-ette, warning my children not to believe that anything said or done on the iCarly show (or any TV show for that matter) resembled reality. “Try talking to your boss disrespectfully some day and see if your real life ‘audience’ cheers you on like that! No. You will end up on the street with your little box of office knickknacks.”
Obviously, I am irritated that current kid-programming portrays adult authority figures as dufuses. The boys were spared further impartation of wise motherly counsel they had not requested of me as they hustled off to baseball practice.
Then, alone in the quiet of my house, as if swept up in some mind altering state, I sat watching not one, but 4 consecutive episodes (2 hours!) of “17 Kids And Counting,” a reality show which chronicles the day to day lives of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their 18 children (January marked the arrival of the newest Duggar).
I couldn’t stop watching! I was not flabbergasted that a couple would have 18 kids, ranging in age from newborn to 20 something, whose names begin with “J.” I was not astonished at how they could possibly keep 10 boys and 8 girls all fed and clothed. None of the obvious, mind-blowing realities made my head spin, but the following observations from the show and their website duggarfamily.com really got to me:
• Every night at 9pm all of them gather and enjoy studying the Bible together.
• I never heard one child mouth off to his/her siblings, let alone, parents or other adults.
• There seems to be great peace and joy in their home, not chaos and strife.
• Everyone helps run the house and care for each other.
• They don’t have a TV.
• They seem to really enjoy each other and have a lot of fun.
• Mom and Dad are very loving toward each other.
• Michelle home-schools all of her children.
• The older children study law and medicine as part of home-schooling
• As a family project they built a 7000 sq. ft. home debt-free
As if these Duggar virtues weren’t enough to make me wish I was one, the aim of these four particular episodes dealt with the eldest Duggar’s engagement which culminated in the sweetest wedding I’ve ever witnessed.
Josh and Anna never “dated,” but spent time getting to know each other as friends. They didn’t hold hands until after he popped the question. They didn’t kiss until they heard “You may kiss the bride!” They didn’t have sex until their wedding night.
Against the back drop of popular culture, their character was inspiring. Their comprehension of truly valuable things was heart-stirring. Their ability to intelligently articulate their convictions was refreshing. Their innocence was romantic.
I was totally captivated. Why? Because that is exactly what we want for our children. No wonder I cringe watching even the so-called “safest” Disney shows. They still reflect too much of a worldly system whose track record isn’t worth emulating. As if that tide of social behavior is the only current available to flow with!
Call me crazy and naïve but I think the Duggars’ life probably resembles their reality TV show. I don’t think they’re perfect but they sure have more to offer my family by example than the family life portrayed in Zach and Cody or Hannah Montana. That may be the main stream but I’d rather go against that flow even if it means swimming upstream all the way.