Friday, June 19, 2009

The Duggars vs. the Gosselins vs. the Sunshines

Round 1,385,926 ... DING !!!

I was reading my "Today's Christian Woman Encouraging Words" this morning, and as I scrolled down to the bottom, I saw a link that caught my eye. It was called:

The Duggars: the Anti-Gosselins: When reality TV marriage actually works.

It is an interesting blog post ... and the comments are just as interesting! Which, of course, led me to my own comments, which were far too long for the comments section, so I decided to post them here. First read the other post, then come back.

As a new season of reality television kicks off, we find ourselves with the Duggar family, the Gosselin family (which sadly, is being thrown in our faces by the media), and a new reality show for the Masche family.

Here are my opinions... for what they count!

I have watched both shows for the Duggar and Gosselin families, and by far, prefer the Duggars. I haven't seen the Masch family show yet, and really am not interested at all.

At first, I liked Jon and Kate Plus 8 - I liked seeing what it is REALLY like to raise multiples, I enjoyed her organization skills, and was always impressed with how smoothly everything ran. Of course, she had an army of helpers around the clock. But then I started noticing a sort of militant personality with Kate. Finally, fame started setting in, and the tone of the show changed, and I began to watch it less an less, and finally, not at all.

I've also watched the Duggar show, and this family takes on an entirely different tone from the second cameras start rolling.

First and foremost, I love the way Michelle and Jim Bob speak to each other with such respect and love, and it carries out to their children and others around them. It certainly shows the fruits of the Holy Spirit in their lives, as well as all the tools God has given us to communicate with each other. Something I’m guilty of not always using. In turn, their children have learned the same traits, and have the same love and respect among each other and their parents.

People see our walk with God in the way we live out our lives. They can tell if we are sincere, and if we have really let the Holy Spirit “clean house” and take control of our lives … or if we are maintaining the control of our “spiritual life” and just saying the right things at the right time.

I also enjoy seeing that they have order and cleanliness in their home, but still have that normal "life" look -- a lived-in home. She is also organized and structured, but her only help are her own kids... which is realistic. I also enjoy her frugality, and ability to feed her large family while maintaining joy and unity at the dinner table.

I feel that God has given both the Duggars a tremendous capacity of parental patience, but that is something we all can have. Sadly, my one child tries my patience, tries my patience, tries my patience, and did I say … tries my patience?!? Michelle has had a lot of practice, and she has a lot of help, but I’m sure Michelle has moments where she wants to pull her hair out, and I’m sure there have been moments that she has raised her voice to her kids or has been impatient with them. We have to remember that she isn't perfect. She is human. Even she has said that on interviews.

In comparison, I find that Kate is abrasive, harsh, and sarcastic with her husband and at times with her kids, as well as others around her. She puts Jon down so easily (whether with words or with actions like rolling eyes), and I’m pretty sure that as the kids grow older, it will trickle down to them as well. It saddens me to see her reactions, because I don’t think she realizes the joy she is killing little by little. At the same time, I'm pretty certain it isn't all "Kate" but that Jon has to step up to the plate too. They chose to marry each other, and at some point, there was a deep love between the two of them. That love needs to be revisited, rekindled and redirected.

I know Jon and Kate have eight children . Having six in diapers and potty training two is enough to throw any sane woman over the edge! And I can’t pretend to even understand or comprehend the pressure she and Jon must have raising them in the public eye. I know raising my one in the privacy of our home is hard enough. And, at the same time, we don’t know all the facts within Jon and Kate’s relationship or their home life. We know a LOT, but not everything. It isn't fair for us to judge them harshly as the media seems to enjoy doing. After all … “There but by the grace of God go I.”

I just keep going back to one major thing: Love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness, longsuffering, self-control, goodness, patience, faithfulness -- where has it all gone in today's busy and fast-paced society?

I told my husband just the other day … I’m ready to move to Lancaster, PA TODAY, and melt into the Amish and Mennonite ways of life, in the country, with our own crops or cattle or whatever. Simplicity, farmland, less commercialism... a quiet life. I know that sounds silly coming from a suburban girl, and might even sound extreme. But I'm willing to give it a try!

Last week, a dear friend of mine told me a story about how her son is learning things from the kids in public school that have her worried. The children (her son included) place their hands over their privates, and thrust their hips forward at people as if to say… well… I’m sure you can figure that out. They say “real” profanity – four letter words. They fight and spit at each other. I’m sure you’re thinking it sounds normal, right? Yeah, well… her son is in FIRST GRADE. I don’t want that for my child. Ever. I want him to be a care free child and do the things KIDS should do – not the things crude adults do. That just breaks my heart that a 6 year old is behaving like that!

So, yeah. Selling everything and moving to Lancaster with the Amish, Mennonites, and the other good and fine Lancaster people, and taking on a very conservative and slower-paced life style and protecting my child sounds good to me. Unrealistic? Yes. I guess it is the mama-bear in me wanting to shelter my son from the rapidly spinning world around us.

Soooo… I guess what I’m saying is: I admire the Duggar family. They have instilled Godly principles in their children’s lives. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are evident in their lives. They have surrounded themselves with conservative families with like principles and like minds. Their children are well adjusted, intelligent, and well rounded young boys and girls who love and fear God. I appreciate and admire that. It is, as a Christian mom, what I strive for as well.

I also admire the Gosselin family, but in a different way. It is not an easy thing to raise a child… but 8? Imagine that ... from zero to 8 in three years. Wow. That is admirable. She is very organized and runs a tight ship. Something I don’t always manage to do that! But, I feel sad for the Gosselin family. They are just another example of how money doesn't buy happiness, but certainly complicates happiness! It can buy more comforts, and make life easier, but happiness isn't something that can be purchased, and finding that source of happiness in your life is important.

Yes, I've considered home schooling... and yes, it may come down to that eventually. But for now, I keep relying on God's grace and mercy and provision. I know he'll guide us


LvlyRita said...

I can't believe that no one's commented yet on this hot-topic of mega-families. The Duggar's name came up at the ladies meeting on Saturday with a bit of a groan and shake of the head. Many people just don't get doing something very difficult like having a lot of children, and seeing God's blessings come out of it.

My mom (mother of 9) had a similar philosophy as the Duggars. But she told me when I was quite young that having a large family is not everyone's calling and God gives grace for what He wants from you. Mom often said that she wouldn't turn down a blessing from God and children are just that. For the first 14 years anyway :)

It's too bad that the Gosselin family has fallen apart. Last seen in New York, Jon was apartment shopping when God needs them to be an example for others who are either struggling with their marriage, or struggling with having multiples.

Finally, I'm all for moving away, too, although I think we may miss blogging (aka; a venue to preach, teach, and exhort without interruption or rolling eyes).

Linda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda @ My Trendy Tykes said...

I think it's time to pull the plug on Jon & Kate. If they announce seperation then I don't even know why TLC would still have it on the air? What will we watch.... the kids being shuffled off to and from each parent's home? I mean honestly? When is it enough??

By the way, this post made me do some DEEP THINKING of my own. I posted it on my blog with a little linky love for you and your post.

Pregnancy Symptoms said...

Great thoughts, they definitely gave me some things to think about as I view "reality" shows.

Mommy Cracked said...

I tend to agree with you..your opinions are right on target with mine. I also secretly wonder what it would be like to raise a child in such a simpler society.

Emily said...

What an honest and realistically put post. I just really dislike Jon and Kate Plus 8. I feel so bad for those poor kids every time I see that show. You are right, Kate really seems like she is a military mom. Which is sad. I hope they cut the show now that the family is "falling apart." Maybe once they don't have cameras following them around 24/7 they will be able to work things out as a family.

Stacey said...

I'm glad you decided to talk about this one GiBee! It's so hard to see those poor kids saying things to Jon like "We miss you! Won't you come around more?" What a heart breaking scene. I think they like the attention personally and are being selfish and not considering their children!

The Duggars make me feel so good about what marriage can and should be. The kind words of affirmation between Michelle and Jim Bob make me strive to be a better wife! I love that show and think it's great that they are not ashamed to speak the name of God and stand up for what they believe!