I think the world would be a better place if we were all a little bit more like the Duggars.
Yes, those Duggars.
Now, before you wig all the way out, let me remind you that:
A. This is a safe space, and everyone is welcome here–even people you might not agree with. Which, if you’re going to wig out in the ways I suspect you’re going to wig out, would include the Duggars themselves, if, by some absolutely bizarre set of circumstances, they happened to be reading this post (hi, Duggars!), and
B. Please review the title today.
Here’s where I’m going with this: How many of you have sat down and watched an episode or two of 19 Kids and Counting? And I don’t mean “watched it with a mixture of horror and shock, while mentally forming furious opinions about breeding little armies”; I mean objectively watched the show. Y’know, like an anthropologist or something.
If you have, then hopefully you’ve noticed the same things I’ve noticed (which, for the record, are the reason I’ve got the DVR set up to record the series, and I watch every single episode without fail), specifically that this is one heckuva great family. Sure, sure, we’ve got our differences–a coupla minor ones regarding beliefs about family size and religion spring to mind–but for the most part…I tell ya, I worked in childcare for 5 years, interacting with a total of probably right around 1,000 kids, and I cannot off the top of my head think of more than a handful who were anywhere near as well-behaved, polite, considerate, and respectful as the Duggar kids. Yes, they get a little rambunctious from time to time, but in a “tear around outside on a tricycle” way, not a “set fire to the family cat” way. None of them has flipped out and gone into porn or become a meth dealer (most of ’em are still pretty young, so I guess there’s still time, but the older ones show absolutely no inclination in those directions). They don’t cuss, don’t drink, don’t swear, don’t backtalk, don’t break curfew, don’t knock over liquor stores for money for an Xbox, and don’t show up to public events in clothes that make me break out in hives.
Instead, they pile into a bus and drive to Joplin to help with cleanup in the aftermath of that huge tornado. They bake cookies to take to the fire department, just to say “thank you”. They volunteer to do fundraisers for local charities. They help build additions to people’s houses. They ask for the opportunity to go serve others, via mission trips or local outreach–a couple of ’em are volunteer firefighters and EMTs.
And while it’s true that I have some vague dim concerns about how easily these kids will adjust to life in the “outside” world–and to be honest, most of those concerns are a result of their celebrity, not their upbringing–I mostly think that we might all be better off if more people took a few cues from the Duggar approach.
For instance, they incorporate building character into their daily lives (Michelle has a blog post of her own about that), and spend days/weeks/months at a time working on memorizing and incorporating a given character trait. My personal favorite is her discussion of how they made a game out of being sneaky ninjas full of initiative, and tried to look for ways to be a blessing to someone without getting caught at it (like making their bed for them while they were out of the room).
And it occurred to me that perhaps this is something we should all be focused on–examining our lives and finding ways in which we can strive to be people of unimpeachable character, and teaching our children (borrow some kids if necessary) to do the same. Be on the lookout for ways to be a blessing to someone else. Be profoundly grateful for the blessings you receive, and express that openly. Strive to demonstrate hospitality, and responsibility, and tolerance and gentleness and love (all of which, by the way, are on the sheet of character traits they use).
In other words, regardless of how you feel about birth control or limiting family size or zero population growth, maybe we could all stand to be a little bit more like the Duggars.
Frankly, I reckon it certainly couldn’t hurt.