My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Twenty Reasons I think it's ok for the Duggars to have Twenty Kids

Yesterday morning I posted a facebook update wondering aloud what the Duggars might be announcing on the Today show since I was going to have to leave for work before the segment aired.

It turns out that they’re expecting baby number 20… and my facebook went WILD. Ok. Maybe wild is a bit of an exaggeration. I had more comments than usual, most of them negative. And... I hear you... it's outside the normal family size. I think I’m in the minority in saying, “good for them”. Wait. Hear me out. 

I’ve come up with 20 reasons it’s ok for the Duggars to have 20 kids, if they so desire.

1.       It’s a free country. We don’t have those sort of Chinese/commie restrictions on family size.

2.       They have the room. Ok. So maybe their dormitory style housing wouldn’t be ideal for say, someone who desires privacy, but apparently there’s enough privacy for 20 little blessings to be conceived. I’m jes’ sayin’. They’re not piled in some two bedroom apartment somewhere.

3.       Piggybackin’ on the whole dormitory style housing thing… when I was a kid we visited Christian City which was a “children’s home” and I thought it was the COOLEST place I’d ever been. Granted. I hadn’t been many places at that point and I was relatively sheltered and probably didn’t realize that most of those kids had arrived there via some personal tragedy or dysfunctional situation. I just thought it was cool. I also thought Fonzie was cool then but that’s not the point. Some of my friends have told me that they thought MY house was cool growing up because we were the biggest family most people knew. That was the best thing about being the only girl… past the age of seven I was pretty much guaranteed my own room.

4.       Who gets to decide what is considered “excessive child rearing”? I mean… if you had seen my childhood home with five kids and one bathroom, would that have been too many? Was it too many for me with my three kids? For my friends who aren’t “breeders”… one kid would be one kid too many… but isn’t that up to the parents to decide? All these pro-choice people who say the government should stay away from making the decision to END an unborn child’s life… why should anyone have the right to prevent people from continuing with that life if they so desire?

5.       If you have two arguably fiscally responsible people who are in a long term committed relationship who decide they want a couple dozen kids… why not? That’s why point number five is… they can afford it, apparently. They reportedly own their home outright. They don’t carry credit debt. They pay cash for their vehicles. Their kids seem reasonably well dressed. I mean, I’m not a fan of the ankle length skirts but that’s just me.

6.       I’ve heard the argument that the older kids are forced to raise the younger kids. I was the only girl out of five kids with three little brothers. I did my share of baby watching in my young life and it didn’t kill me. You might even venture to say that it made me a better parent but definitely it made me a better person. I didn’t always WANT to watch the baby but if it was a choice of “do the dishes or watch the baby”… I’ll watch the baby. There were even times *gasp* when I would CHOOSE to voluntarily on purpose spend time with one of my little brothers.

7.       The Duggar kids all appear to be respectful. I know, at times it looks like they’re almost TOO perfect… Stepford Children, so to speak. The real proof is in the behaviors they choose to undertake away from the fold of the family fortress. There are no TMZ stories about Duggar kids showing up in shady bars. People who meet them in real life all come away – at least all the reports I’ve seen – with the perspective that they are polite kids. There’s not an unruly one in the bunch… although I’m not entirely sure about that Johannah… she looks to be a handful at times.

8.       Growing up in a large family, I learned to share. I learned that we can’t all be in the bathroom at the same time. I learned that it’s not ALL about me. I learned that treats are treats because you don’t have them every day. I learned to enjoy sports (because that was the only thing on tv). I also learned that in every single Scooby Doo episode they would have succeeded if it hadn’t been for those meddlin’ kids. Those kind of things you can only discover by watching Scooby Doo every durn day because your little brother likes Scooby. There are some very valuable life lessons that come much more readily in a large family.

9.       They use their large brood to benefit society. They go on mission trips. They respond to natural disasters. The kids serve as volunteer fire fighters. They are a force for good in this evil world.

10. I love the fact that there are two people who have been married over twenty years who are still passionately in love with each other. I know that (for me) anyways... each child, each birth, brought me closer to my kids' dad and although that bond didn't last forever... it did change us. That kind of bond... times twenty... I think is a beautiful thing.

11. They manage their family well. Their kitchen is the right size. They have multiple washers and dryers. They have a very workable and reasonable routine. They have consistency that is far and beyond anything I could have every come up with.

12. I read a comment yesterday that bemoaned the fact that the kids have to make an appointment to see their parents. I don't know if that's true... but I do know that even though it's just me and Austin in this tiny little nest and even though I don't have any extracurricular things in my life, I don't always have the full focus I need to have in discussing things he needs to talk about. And as a child in a five kid household, I'm not sure we always had the one on one time that we would have liked. I certainly, as a single parent of three, had to work hard to schedule one on one time and if it happened once a week, we were lucky. I think the Duggar parents are more accessible to their kids than most parents are.

13. Their life is a living testimony. Josie's health issues... among the most unsettling thing a parent can experience. I had a friend who had triplets at 26 weeks ... the roller coaster rides those three babies were on were absolutely emotionally devastating. Jim Bob and Michelle were faithful, they were strong, they were pragmatic about Josie's prognosis and they remained strong in their faith. I think that's amazing. My prayers for Josie at the time of her birth were, "Prepare the Duggars for the possible death of this child"... but she survived and appears to be thriving.

14. What happened to Michelle with baby #19 could easily happen to a much younger mom with her first baby. It's true that having that as a health history predisposes her to a higher risk with this baby. HOWEVER... she has taken reasonable strides to improve her health to be a healthier mom. I really respect that.

15. I read a comment (not on my facebook - somewhere else) yesterday that said that if Michelle dies, 20 kids will be orphans. Well. I mean... technically a kid is an orphan when both parents are dead. So ... unless she takes Jim Bob out on her way out... that's just not true.

16. I love that they leave things up to God. They take reasonable action in their financial planning and they walk with God every day so that when He leads, they know His voice and understand what is best for their family. THey are a church within themselves. They are a faith community within themselves.

17. Having come from a larger family than average, I can tell you that each and every relationship within the family is precious. As my brothers have grown up and selected mates and had children,  there exists the opportunity for more and more relationships. Just like within the body of Christ there are people who are gifted differently, within a family there are those with different gifts and different points of view. I value these additional relationships that we have. I also grieve the relationships that aren't what I wish they could be... but because I have such a large family, there is always someone to turn to when times get tough. I love thinking of the many diverse bonds within the Duggar family. 

18. The Duggars are not loading all these kids onto a school bus every day and dumping the kids on the public school system. They educate their own kids... and they seem to have a very organized method for homeschooling. 

19. They give their kids a good moral foundation for the future. Their kids don't date... they court. THere's a difference. They learn to build righteous, right relationships with others who are like minded and equally yoked which will give them a much firmer foundation for their marriages. I don't think every single Duggar will go through life without taking a misstep... but I believe they have the tools to fix things when they don't go well. 

20. This is purely selfish on my part but I personally enjoy the Duggars. I want them to have as many babies as they can and continue to be on tv as long as it makes sense for their family. I enjoy their books. I enjoy following their story. 

So... that's it. My twenty reasons why I'm ok with the Duggars having twenty kids. 
Have a great Wednesday!


Anonymous said...

I commented on someone's post yesterday about my friend who is one of 12 children. Of course, she came along 55 years ago when larger families were more common and reality TV was nonexistent. The 11 surviving children are all close (closer than many smaller families) and all speak reverently of their parents who worked hard to nurture and provide for them. I do not have a problem with the Duggers at all. I have a problem with the folks I run into everyday who have multiple children with multiple partners and receive government assistance because they can't afford to raise their kids.

Jeanne said...

I completely agree with you! I feel the same way about the Sister Wives .... And gay marriage. If you are a good, caring, loving a good life....why is it my business?

Big Mark 243 said...

I like every one of your reasons Heather! In fact, this is the rare post where I find that I could not agree with you more!!

patty9953 said...

I couldn't agree more! And, if we were all to be completely honest ... the Duggars are he very best at what they do ... having and raising a large family, and ushering each one of them into a faithful, happy, secure, bonded (to their family of origin), responsible young adult. They get a high five from me!

And you're over due for a hug from me, my friend ....

Adirondackcountrygal said...

I agree with your points of view. They responsibly and lovingly raise their children and all the trips and money from the show and other corporations sure don't hurt either! I do think 20 is a lot of children however, but hey to each their own. All those children seem very well adjusted and much better off than a lot of people with smaller families like me. We are so dysfunctional its not even funny!