I would like to be presumptuous and take the opportunity to educate readers of ChicagoNow on something that may ring a bell for you back in the deep recesses of the popular culture section of your brain. Since my wife is pregnant with our first child (she has two from her first marriage and I have four) and I feel that my age -52 - puts me in the "odd" category of new parents in today's society, this story amazes me.
Does the name "Duggar Family" mean anything to you? Do you know who the Duggars are? Let me tell you. They are famous for having lots of kids and they are the "stars" of a reality show on the TLC network that was formerly called "19 Kids and Counting" and before that it was known as "18 Kids and Counting" and when it first started it was called "17 Kids and Counting." They are now going to change the name of the show now to "20 Kids and Counting." Why? Because the dad of the clan, Jim Bob Duggar, has impregnated his 45 year old wife Michelle with their 20th child and this pregnancy was announced to the world on the Today Show this week.
Every one of the twenty kids has a first name that starts with the letter J. Those children are:
Joshua (he's married now), Jana Marie and John-David (twins), Jill Michelle, Jessa Lauren, Jinger Nicole (pronounced like "Ginger"), Joseph Garrett, Josiah Matthew, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah Robert and Jeremiah Robert (twins), Jason Michael, James Andrew, Justin Samuel, Jackson Levi, Johannah Faith, Jennifer Danielle, Jordyn-Grace Makiya, Josie Brooklyn (Brooklyn? That's gangster), and number 20 - not yet named.
The Duggars are conservative Christians and based upon their fundamental beliefs, the only television the family watches are wholesome family programming on DVDs, and various historical events. They restrict internet use. The boys keep their hair cut short and the girls keep their hair long. Their children are home-schooled utilizing conservative Christian materials. The children don't date conventionally, but practice what is known as "chaperoned courtship" where there is no physical contact.
The Duggars raise their children using a buddy system where each younger sibling has an older sibling assigned and helps with their primary care.
Jim Bob served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1999 to 2002. He is currently an investor and real estate agent. The family income comes from rent they earn from commercial properties that they own. They live debt-free and follow the teachings of "Jim Sammons Financial Freedom Seminar that Jim Bob attended years ago. The furnishings in their 7,000 square foot home were provided by the Discovery Network.
How many of us would love to be debt free? The Duggars are.
How many of us would like to keep our kids away from much of what the internet has to offer? The Duggars do.
Wouldn't many of us like to live in a 7,000 square foot home? Yes, and the Duggars do.
Wouldn't it be cool to have in-house, family-based child care? The Duggars have it.
Do your kids even know where the History Channel is? The Duggars' kids do.
How many of us think that 20 kids is a ridiculous notion and wastes resources? Come on, don't lie - that's what you think.
There are lessons to be learned from the Duggars. Yes, they are a function of 21st century reality television and their home would not be furnished as well as it is if not for the network that produces their story.
It would be easy for many of us to make fun of the Duggars lifestyle, choices of clothing, manner of speaking and decision to have 20 kids. And, despite their seemingly well-adjusted and prosperous lifestyle, many people will continue to find the easy things to ridicule. (Just the name Jim Bob is an obvious target.) When I heard about the Duggars several years ago, I felt that it was way too easy to parody or skewer them on any number of levels.
Now that I'm going to have another child, I think it's time to change my tune. Hey, the Duggars have it together in so many ways. I wouldn't dress my children or raise them like Jim Bob and Michelle do. Nor would I name my children like that or home school them or socialize them under the conditions the way that Jim Bob and Michelle do. But, being a parent means doing what's right and what works for you and your kids. And it clearly works for the Duggars. My wife and I have done things that have worked for our kids and things that haven't. We're still trying to do the things that work and will keep trying with baby number 7 that is due in February.
By the way, if anyone from the Discovery Network reads this and wants to buy us some furniture, we're up for that too.
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