Saturday, November 7, 2009

Such a Controversial Subject!

Have you ever watched 18 Kids and Counting on TLC? It's that show about the Duggar family. In case you've been living in a cave for the last few years, the Duggars live in Arkansas, and they're expecting their nineteenth child sometime in 2010. Darling Daughter and I have been following the Duggars off and on since about five children ago.

I've always been fascinated by very large families, I think because I have grandparents on both sides who grew up with dozens of siblings. Well, maybe not dozens, but there were plenty of them. My great-granny was the oldest of twelve. Only ten survived infancy or early childhood, but still...can you imagine having so many? When I was a little girl I loved to listen to her stories about having so many smaller brothers and sisters. It was obvious that Granny loved her family and she never expressed any resentment at having had to wash tons of little clothes (by hand, in a washtub) or help with the chores on their farm. And as the oldest girl, she had a lot to do...washing out clothes and cloth diapers, helping in the garden and kitchen, keeping up with small people. Granny stayed close with her siblings as long as they lived. I always thought it must be a nice feeling to have so many brothers and sisters out there in the world who were such a part of your life.

Because, you know, growing up I only had the ONE sister and once she was old enough to realize she didn't have to obey my every command, well she just wasn't much fun anymore! (Hi sister!) Seems like my parents could have had a few more little ones to follow me around in awe and respect! I was robbed, I tell you.

But anyway...back to the Duggars. We like this show. There's no mystery to be solved, no drama and suspense, no car chases, no cage fighting and no messy divorces, but there's love. There's a spirit of togetherness and cooperation. The Duggars seem to be a sweet Christian family who genuinely like each other. They treat each other with kindness and respect. The Duggars are happy with life.

Apparently that really disturbs a lot of people.

If you browse through the message boards on TLC's website, you'll find vicious attacks on every topic concerning the Duggars. Some folks think they have too many children and are using up all the natural resources that the rest of the world could be consuming. Some find fault in the fact that they homeschool and therefore they're raising a bunch of unsocialized, ignorant young people who won't be fit for the big, bad world. People gripe and argue about the way Michelle (the mom) feeds the baby, whether they can afford to send each and every child to college (where is it written that parents MUST provide the funds for this?) who cleaned up the vomit when one of the little ones puked, whether the twelve year old cried when she mentioned her dead cat, the length of the girl's skirts, the careers the older children do or do not want to pursue, the fact that most of them still live at home (they're mostly still teenagers, big deal) and have even spewed venom because the oldest son and his wife chose to deliver their first baby at home. If one of those kids sneezes, the family is berated in the forums for not having enough tissue within reach.

All I can say is, "Thank heaven TLC has never knocked on my door and asked to do a show about my family!"

Because we'd be in BIG trouble! We also have the audacity to believe in God. We have the nerve to insist that our kids treat each other with love. We attend Church. We homeschool. We aren't paying for our Oldest's college education, so if he loses his scholarships, he's going to be in bad shape. Speaking of the Oldest, he still lives at HOME. Gasp! We make our kids do laundry! We make them scrub toilets. We make the older ones babysit the younger ones. We make them help with dinner. We haven't provided Darling Daughter with an automobile. And....are you sitting down?? The twins' pet fishies DIED last summer and NO ONE shed a TEAR! My kids have been known to leap off of things, ride their bikes without helmets when they think no one's looking, smack each other upside the head and fall asleep sitting up in their highchairs! They've wrecked cars, and broken windows, plates and even bones! They've had stitches, bruises, upset tummies and nightmares. There have been days when none of them has gotten their fair share of one-on-one time with mom or dad. Heck, there have been days when we haven't even SEEN the Oldest one. I'm pretty sure we're normal!

There are families of all shapes and sizes and kinds in this world, and they all have a right to raise their kids the way they see fit. I may not agree with your way of doing things, and you may not like mine. As long as what we're doing isn't causing someone else pain, so what? With all of the other trash on television, isn't it refreshing to be able to watch a family who cares for one another? Does it really matter if they have exactly the same religious, moral, educational, ecological, and philosophical beliefs as the next family?

What do you think of the Duggars?


Hezra said...

Well aside from wondering how her body actually contains a 19th child, I think they are pretty neat people. I think people get so wrapped up in differences. This time it just happens to be televised. I too am personally glad there are not cameras rolling in my house. It is hard enough to manage a home study visit and that is only a few hrs. lol I have two boys that I seriously wanted to send to grandmas for the day but darnit the social workrer actually needed to see and talk to them all. (really?) and yes I get a lot of comments that I may be nuts because I am trying to adopt #6 and #7 right now. I kind of think it a good thing to give homes to children. But apparently anything over 2.5 (btw WHERE do they get that number!? all those little .5s out there scare me!)is too too many. as they said on the original yours mine and ours,"sure I guess 19 is taking it a bit too far, but if we were to do it again, who would we leave out, YOU?"

Brianna said...

I must agree that the Duggars are wonderfully admirable people, and I hope that the media doesn't tear them down like it has many before.
Who's to say what is normal anyway? Majority rule? That's bogus. You would think that by now people would understand that our differences are not what should bring us apart, but rather together to act as one whole.
There are some people that just shouldn't be parents at all, and some that should take on more. And are those people that choose not to have kids as harrassed as those that choose to have 19 of them? Are they equally "un-normal?" Not really. I haven't once heard of couple's being criticized too much for not having kids, have you?

Chelsea Gour said...

Well, I'm sure you know how I feel about this. I'm an avid watcher of the Duggars, because I think there is a lot to learn from them. I think anyone putting down a family like the Duggars has their own issues to address and should not be concerned with anyone elses lives. You don't have to want 19 children of your own...or even 1, to see that they are an extremely loving and happy family. Isn't that what matters? Not that they all families look a like, but that all the members are happy and loved!