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Monday, November 9, 2009

The Duggars we're not ...


I'll read anything. O.k., just about anything. Really, there are frightfully few books that I won't take a stab at. I love reading, I read quickly, and I am interested in oh, just about everything.

Case in point: two years ago I went on a huge polio kick. You know--polio? Disease that crippled and killed millions of children in the 50s? Yeah--that polio! Anyhow, I suddenly became outrageously (and annoyingly) interested in the socio-political aspects of the polio epidemic. How did it impact people's daily interaction with one another? What was it like growing up in a climate of fear as a child? How did mothers cope with the threat? What did local authorities do to keep potential hysteria in check? What went on behind the scenes on the nation's political stage? Who were the movers and the shakers?

This is the crazy stuff that I think about, people. And then, after I think about it, I hit my library, and I come home with loads and loads of reading material. I read and I digest. When I finally feel like I've gotten a handle on it, I can set the topic aside and move on.

It's kind of boring being me, as you can tell. :-)

This is the kind of random rabbit trail thought process that brought the Duggars book, "20 and Counting" to my bedside table. I was at my grandparent's house recently, where I had unfettered access to television for the first time in eons. One of the programs that my grandmother likes to watch is the TLC program on the Duggar family. Why?

"They talk about the Lord like it's o.k. to mention Him on t.v., and I like that."

There 'ya go.

So anyhow, I watched a couple of episodes of the Duggar show. Obviously I had heard of them before. I am a homeschooler. I have a couple of kids. Well, that and I don't live under a rock. The Duggars are their own little phenomena, aren't they? If you homeschool they've popped up in conversation--simply because the Duggars do it, and they're on t.v. And if you've got more than say, four kids, the Duggars are going to be thrown out there. "What, are you guys going to be like the Duggars?" And if your brand of Christianity leads you to wear dresses or something else visible, you may just hear Duggar references as you go about your life, too. They're everywhere, those Duggars.

These realizations touched off one of those polio-like wonderings in my mind, so when I returned home, I started my normal reading routine. I found websites, read articles, looked for books. And you know what I found? I think I actually like the Duggars.

Obviously, I don't personally know this family. And I'm still highly suspicious of anyone, Christian or not, who does the whole "come on in and film our lives!" thing. You want to be an actor? Wonderful! Go for it. But having someone come in and film your kids eating breakfast? Can we all just take a step back and admit that this is a weird, warping little intrusion into the life of a family? Anyhow, I digress ...

I think the Duggars are likable. That doesn't mean that I agree with every word that comes from their lips, and that doesn't mean that I'm going to strive to emulate them. But I see very little in the way of condescension towards others in the way that they live their lives. I see a whole lot of work ethic. And I see an amazing amount of love--the kind of love that absolutely embodies the JOY principle of Jesus, Others, Self.

It's refreshing, honestly.

And convicting. Last night, as I was reading a section of "20 and Counting," I found a passage relating the story of how the Duggars had come to have a vehicle large enough to transport their entire family. I'll be honest and admit that my assumption involved the kind folks at TLC financing something for them. According to the book, however, they bought a wrecked bus for under $3,000. Then, they bought another, even more demolished bus for far less. And, as a family, they pieced them together. In the end, they have a large, serviceable vehicle that meets their needs ... for under $3,500. Which they say they paid in cash, by the way.

I'll be real and admit that I could not do that. First and foremost, neither Mr. Blandings nor myself has the kinds of skill that a project of that magnitude requires. But beyond that ... I'm just not that patient. I know I wouldn't wait for the right price at the right time if I was having to dole my family into two or three different vehicles just to get everyone to church on Sunday morning. Nope. I'd be the woman asking myself why on earth Jesus would mind if we just took out one, itty-bitty car loan, just this once? I'd be the one looking for loopholes in my previous conviction. I'd be the one whining my way through the wait.

But I'd rather be the "be content with what you have, for the Lord has said, never will I leave you nor forsake you" kind of gal. I'd rather be patient. I'd rather be ...

Well, like a Duggar, I guess.

So if nothing else, this is what I've learned from my phase of putting the Duggars under my curious microscope: Examples of faith come in the most unlikely of places. Maybe even on reality t.v. shows.

12 comments:

Tanya said...

I had kind of similar feelings reading their book recently. I haven't seen the show but had certainly heard of them. I was struck by what down to earth people they were, practical and extremely hardworking, very strong family values and still with a sense of humor that came across in the book. I would love to emulate them in those aspects, but thankfully us not having so many kids to guide.

Mama JJ said...

About the polio thing? My mom had it. (For some odd reason, I thought you might be interested.)

Tiffany said...

Ugg...now *I* need to know about polio...! I'm the same way. Lately I've been on a black plague kick.

Anyway, I just love reading your posts. I love your honesty & sense of humor!

Renee said...

I loved their book!

melissa said...

I love reading all that you write. Oddly it sounds as if I am reading my own writing though, we are waaay too similiar!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, it's nice to feel like you aren't the only one sometimes!!

I love the Duggar's family rules, it is on their website. I never had rules really growing up and it is a very interesting list!!

Michelle Howard said...

It cracks me up that you connected your obsession with learning about polio to an interest in the Duggars!

I like them, too, BTW...

Liz said...

i like to watch the show because Michele's gentleness is very encouraging to me.. i love that even with cameras in thier lives for years, they are still simple, kind and humble. that says something! it is great that America gets a glimpse into a Christian way of life, that is brimming with fruit. :)

It's me ...Mavis said...

20 kids and counting is the ONLY show I make time to watch. I love how they interact with each other and how kind/humble they are. I would be happy to be their neighbor. Jim Bob cracks me up...

Chef Penny said...

It is so refreshing to see them on tv especially with all the Jon & kate fiasco. I love me some Duggars but I would not have 20 kids! Oh no!

Valerie said...

I found your blog via the homeschool blog awards. Congrats by the way. I do have to say, I have met her (Michelle) in person and heard her talk. I live in Arkansas not far from her and she came and spoke at my homschool group "mom's night". It was about thirty of us and she was so sweet and so humble in person. She made time for each one of us. She had NO cameras with her, and had 2 children with her( I think most were with Jim Bob in Tennessee). She truly loves the Lord, and ALL of her children and that I find refreshing and pleasing to my soul.

everydayMOM said...

I've gotten on some bizarre kicks like that, too. Funny.

I recently became very interested in the Duggars and watched the show, too. I just couldn't get over how all the little boys were so neat and clean in their khaki pants. Are you kidding me?!? My kids are lucky to look that good on Sunday morning.

I'm planning to give them another chance someday when I have time to watch TV again... um... not sure when that will be. =]

Ticia said...

I am fascinated with the Duggars and with large families in general. I see this kind of closeness and bonding in large families that I don't see in smaller ones. That includes the house I grew up in.
Reading about Polio made me laugh. (polio didn't make me laugh) just you reading it. I am like that I have a psychology book from 1969 that I find fascinating. But I've been know to the back of the cereal box if there is nothing else! Ah books ! Gotta love um!