Friday, April 9, 2010

Slaves to the Grind Part II: Duggars Doing Time?

Lots of comments in the "Slaves" post has prompted a Part II. We're going to talk specifically about higher education and is it really necessary in the whole scheme of things. And once again we're going to debunk some famous Duggar myths.

Now because this is my blog HA! I reference my life. It's been brought to my attention that not everyone has lived their life like me. No kidding. In fact, I should hope not. Who on earth would want to be divorced twice before they hit 30, have no marketable skills, live off their trust fund, find their true religious faith at 30, and just drift until 36 when they marry "the one?" So now that we've passed that "duh" moment, I'll get on with the blog....

If you read comments on other blogs by people who clearly aren't Duggar fans, you clearly get the impression that the non-Duggar group feels the girls are literally trapped inside that home, held hostage, they have no access to money, couldn't go to any type of college/higher education course if they wanted to, and are just working for their parents inside the home until they are married off to proper husbands. Some readers here may feel that way too, although so far I think we have mostly fans, but who am I to say. I'll go on the record to say that I don't feel that way.

As for being held hostage? Well as was also pointed out in a comment, there is cousing Amy, Michelle's large family, and any number of fans out there who'd be willing to offer shelter and help to any one of the girls should they desire to "escape" the Dugger stronghold. Don't think for a minute these girls have no outside family or friends to turn to if they don't want to live at home anymore. And don't think for a minute that Jim Bob is keenly aware of that.

I will say that in my world growing up, I was forced to go to college. The only choice I had was where I could go. People think that's funny, I did mention it on another Duggar blog and the same people who say the Duggar girls aren't allowed to leave--they have no money and can't go--said I could leave and how could I say I was forced to go to college--no I didn't have any money, my parents held the purse strings. They failed to see the irony in their statements. If one thing could be true for the Duggar girls NOT being allowed to go to college, why couldn't it be true for me being FORCED to go to college? So yes, I had no say in the matter--in my family you went to college, the end.

I went to a very well-respected, highly prized "west coast ivy league" school in Portland, Oregon and got a Bachelor of Science in English. I chose the major because I could complete it in 4 years, not because I could do anything specific with it. My mom kept saying all that mattered was that I had a degree--that's all employers look at--little did she know the world would be changing. But let's move on. I do have some background with research skills, writing papers, and drinking tequila in excess. But I have the piece of paper.

In the 18 years since I have graduated I have had 3 jobs and the longest of those last 3 years. None of them required a college degree. The degree GOT me one of them because the owner was an alumni, but that was it. I still made $10/hour part time and the dot com bust killed us 10 months later. The most I ever made was $13.73/hr dispatching for the cable company and to be honest, the degree almost hurt me there, because being one of the only ones with a degree in a place where no one else has one, they tend to look at you like "what do you think you're better than me?"

So I'm not saying that college degrees are useless. I'm saying mine hasn't been worth the $80k my parents put into it. I'm saying that without a clear career goal at the end of it, it's probably not a good idea to just go for the sake of going. Dave Ramsey won't tell you to just send your kids to college for the sake of sending your kids to college unless they have a clear idea of what they are going to do with the degree when they come out on the other side. The world economy has changed and degrees don't matter anymore in the workplace unless they do something specific.

Now the things the kids have all said they want to be are specific. Some of the little boys want to be firemen and policemen. JoyAnna has said once in an early interview (when she was younger--much younger) that she wanted to be a nurse. Some of the girls, who are now older, when they were pre-teens said they wanted to be things like chefs, beauticians, and midwives. Now they are in their late teens and 20s. Well guess what? When I was a pre-teen I wanted to be a Solid Gold Dancer. When I was in high school I wanted to be a nurse. When I got to college I wanted to be neither of those things. Your ideas change as you get older. Most little boys want to be cowboys and firemen when they are little--if they stayed true to those goals we'd have herds of firemen and cowboys running around. How many 7 yr olds do you know that say they want to be CPAs? Yet we seem to have enough CPAs to go around.

I'm just entertaining the idea that it's possible they don't really want to be those things anymore. Josh said he wanted to be a lawyer when he was 16. He's not 16 anymore. Things change. Notice they haven't asked them THIS SEASON what they want to be? The "what you want to be" question was posed during a 1 hour special that occured before the 30 minute show even started....they are now on season 4. It would be nice to know what the kids think about NOW instead of a lot of speculating and remembering dreams they had when they were much younger. Frankly I'd be a bit annoyed if you kept holding me to my pre-teend dream and throwing it in my face on, I'm not going to be a Solid Gold Dancer, so maybe beautician also fell by the wayside and she's on to some new idea?

I have to agree with the comment made on the "Slaves" post...It would be really sad if the Duggars caved in to their detractors and enrolled one or more of their children in higher learning simply because people feel they should, not because it's something their child(ren) truly want or need at this particular time. Just because this family has chosen to share their lives with us on TV doesn't mean we get to dictate their lives, direct their lives, or comment so harshly on their lives that they question their own decisions.

Please, just try to entertain the idea that the Duggar girls are actually enjoying the fact that they are on a TV show right now and life is pretty good. Besides the fact that they have wonderful new baby sister at home that they've been waiting months to get to know. Just because this kind of life is foreign to you, doesn't mean they don't love living it.


  1. I agree college is overrated and noone should make you go. If the Duggars girls are happy Im all for them. But their expressions leave you to think otherwise. The older ones looks bored sometimes. I learned much about their views of education after research. Gothard and Fundamentalists mindset teaches colleges and public schools are evil temptations lurking.The boys are trained to be apprentices and run a family business. The Bates boys help run a towing, (cant remember), business and Josh runs the car dealership. It is advised to one that wont take time from their families. For example, a lawyer would require to much time from the family. Girls are trained to be wives, mothers homemakers. Im not saying ther is wrong in working a family business. There are a few here in my small town. Some actually do well with little education Maybe education isnt a deal to them now because of the show. I try to see both sides but many feel the kids dont have choices given their beliefs. Forbidding them wither way is detrimental.

  2. I agree sometimes they look bored....but my point is that they could possibly look bored because of production of the show itself...they have to stand around a lot!!!

    Also think back to your midteens, how often were you happy-go-lucky all the time? Those years are the years parents joke about locking the girls up because they are always so "snarky" (hormones) or sending them to boarding school! And lets not forget that phenomona of putting girls in a room together and their cycles beging to match up---4-5 girls having their periods at the same time?? While filming a TV show?? Yeah they're going to look darn skippy!

  3. And yes I know that they do talk to their children about when choosing a career you should think about all the ramifications of that career--including how often it will keep you away from your family. The example they use is their own towing business--when they had the towing business they'd just sit down to dinner and inevitably Jim Bob would get a call to go pick up a car and they decided that just wasn't a "family friendly" business.

    One of the boys has talked of being a pilot. They talked about the safety issues and that at times his schedule may keep him away from his family for days at a time. Did they forbid him from that career? No. But they did remind him of all the things that go with that career.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with that. As a wife, I don't want my husband gone all the time for a job. I know lots of couples make it work, but with children in the mix, can you honestly tell me that's the BEST situation for raising kids--their father never there, or coming and going? So Gothard or no Gothard...i think that principle in and of itself is a good idea. A father needs to be near his family.

    And just because you didn't know, The Bates family owns their own tree cutting/trimming business.

  4. Ok I'm gonna jump in here and say that the kids HAVE a job. They are making money from TLC. They could very well have enough money to buy a house and land right now. Haven't they been on TLC for 4 seasons? You all do the math. We may never know if they ALL have been truly ok with being filmed all the time. Just because they look happy...does not mean they are happy.

    As for college...I don't think they would be pressured by their parents. All of them are well aware of the many occupations. I think the biggest deal to them right now Will this job take me from my family? Well, I love family...but love does not always take care of the bills. JB was very thoughtful with his investments. Don't think Josh put a lot of thought in his. Sorry, I truly think Josh was just ready to go.

    (In defense of pilots and attorneys or other occupations that others fear will interfere with family time.) There are plenty of families out there who are not emotionally scarred by not having both parents 24/7. Nothing wrong with parents who can...but just is not the reality for everyone. We need certain jobs, and that means someone might not be home with their family at night. I'm sure some of the nurses who cared for Josie had families. Good luck to all the Duggars in starting their own businesses and being their own boss. Hope it's something that can help support a large family and the family time that appears to be very important. I'm all for that.

    Yes, I know the Bates have tree trimming business. Can you say, BROKE. I'm from the south and there is not much money in that...when you have 19 kids. If the sons are helping, I doubt they are getting much pay. Zack volunteers with the fire department...but you don't get paid to volunteer. But, it does give ya a good feeling and he will be blessed for it!

  5. My parents pushed college on me, as well as my school. Every other day there was some teacher/friend/counselor asking what my "college" plans were as opposed to what my LIFE plans were. I did one semester at community college, mainly to please my dad and hated it. I never went back, and instead was married at 19, moved out to NC to be with my husband (he is military) and have a 7 week old son now. I wouldn't have done any of this if I went to college, and feel that I ultimately made the best decision for me.

    I feel like the Duggar girls should have the same experience, TRY college if they want, see if it is for them, and if not, so be it. But if they honestly don't want to do that, they shouldn't have to either, even to please their "viewers". That is a personal decision, and one a family makes and is involved in at the end of the day.

    I enjoy my life as a wife and mother, even without a college degree, and don't have the financial burden of loans and such that many of my friends do at this point in life. I feel like I had to grow up faster than my other friends, since I care for not only me, but my husband and son. I've learned a lot in a few years about myself that I don't think college would have allowed me to see.

    I also can't help but wish my parents were as caring as the Duggar parents are, they at the least care for the well being and do a good job keeping the kids safe morally and fundamentally. My parents just let us go out into the world and learn things ourselves, which wasn't the best way to go about things, I was subjected to alot of hurts because of it. They may "shelter" their children, but I see it as protecting them, being involved parents, I see absolutely no harm in it.

  6. Frankly I don't see the big positive in having your own business. I keep hearing that it's a "gothard" thing...but for me personally, no thanks. I did use the example of the airline pilot because they used it--and they didn't discourage their son from becoming one--I do want to put that on the record--it's just one of the things they wanted to remind him of--when you pick a career, you don't just look at all the fabulous things involved in it, you have to look at the downsides too, and everyone tends to forget that. Most of us look at the perks of a job but we rarely remember to look at the downsides when we choose a career. I think that was forward thinking of them to remind them of to do a "pro/con" list. We should all be that smart.

    As a single adult an airline pilot would be a great job. He could earn BANK and save up a lot for his future family. Then when he does decide to get married he can either change his schedule, move to a private career, or do private flights. You can be an airline pilot and still be at home with your family. Same thing as a single nurse. After marriage you can either quit if you choose, or do part time nursing, home care, you can do nursing administration where you do the "paperwork" of nursing, or things like that--you can also go into teaching--or work in nursing homes. With the nursing shortage right now you can practically write your own schedule.

    The Bates family is an interesting case. Mr. Bates did say that his father told him before he could go to college he needed to learn a skill, so that's what he did. He learned a marketable skill. He learned several. I've heard that both Mr. and Mrs. Bates have college degrees, but that's second hand information so I'm not positive on that. And yes their tree cutting business is not "rolling in it." But even though they qualify for state and federal assistance (food stamps, etc) they refuse to accept them and still feed and cloth their growing family just fine. I find that admirable--I'm not that admirable--when my husband was in the ICU on life support after heart surgery I was on food stamps. So you go Mr. Bates.

    I think people see in the Duggars what they want to see--people that don't agree with them almost purposefully look for and hope to see children who are angry and upset and wanting to flee. They want to see a mother that doesn't 'love' her non-babies. They want to see the children in chaos and unruly. Yet if the kids were pristine and sitting in order they'd insist they were catatonic robots quoting the cult lines.

  7. It was Jon David who wanted to be a pilot. For some reason I cant help but have a soft spot for the Bates even though they follow the same beliefs as the Duggars. Erin Bates is taking music classes at a conservative college. Its not for career but to better her skills in teaching and worship services. She is expanding horizons. In todays uncertain economy, it never hurts to have backup. Even at my age I think about a backup though Im content with being homemaker. You never know what may happen like now my husband is laid off.Many child actors have gone to college after they grow up like the Olsen twins so you cant totally dismiss the idea yet. As I said Im content being homemaker. others not even the Duggar kids. We dont know what goes on in their heads but wont knock them for not going or going to college.

  8. there aer careers you can do at home like writing or medical billing. I know someone who does medical billing and claims form home. They liked her work so much she is able to do it at home.
    SHletering from culture is a lot different than sheltering from bad. No too much tv isnt good but what would it hurt the kids to see some non religous kid movies? There are intersting documentaries on the national history channels.

  9. The important thing here is not college or no's having a marketable skill or not having a marketable skill. Even Dave Ramsey will tell you that. My personal example is that I have a college degree, but my marketable skills are high school diploma earned--the degree is just "impressive."

    Frankly, I'm quite impressed with the skills the Duggar kids have. That whole house-building thing is remarkable. I took wood shop in 7th grade as a requirement and still can't hammer a nail in straight. I can cook as well as Rachel Ray (yes!) and I can sew quite well (thanks mom) but as far as fixing anything or maintaining anything car related--I am lucky that I married "Mr. Fix-it."

    The fact that they have raised their kids to be able to repair and build and negotiate for what they need are skills that money terms will pay for themselves repeatedly for the rest of their lives. They OWN those skills. And what bothers me is that people gloss over the fact that the girls know those skills too. Jana cutting bathroom tile is no joke. That's a marketable skill. Out in the real world that pays money--family-supportable money. Michelle has said ON CAMERA that she and Jim Bob are teaching both the boys AND THE GIRLS to be able to go out and have jobs so they can help to support a family. People forget that Michelle worked just as hard as Jim Bob outside the home when they had as many as 5 kids. They just want them to have skills first, then schooling.

    And again...why go to school while they are still doing the show? Life is pretty good for them right now.

  10. My Husband and I sat down only last night talking about way that we could have a business from home, that I could help with but that would not take my husband away from the family. Although we met at university, he has not used his qualifications since - he switched to IT - and I only lectured at college for a couple of years before becoming ill. So it didn't go to waste but I wouldn't think it was worth the money students pay now and I don't think that it puts you ahead in the job market. We didn't come to any definate decisions but we did conclude that the type of skills that the Duggars have - that my husband gre up learning will play a big part rather than any university learning.

  11. Chris Start SMALL, and pay cash as you go and do NOT borrow money and you'll do just fine. Recessions are actually the best times to START small business :D

  12. Thanks Cyn, definately no borrowing money!

  13. Actually, they did tell JD that he "can't" be a pilot. It's on the episode where they remodel the bathroom

    Another thing. . . just cause the Duggars say it on camera (our girls can go to college, I love to pack, we're excited to have another sibling) doesn't mean it's true. Don't be naive!

  14. First of all, I have seen all the episodes except the last one (waiting for it to be posted on TLC's website) and I don't recall an episode where they "remodel a bathroom." Unless you mean an episode where the children update Mom and Dad's bathroom as a surprise for Mom while Mom and Dad are out of town, is that the episode you mean? The only time I remember Jim Bob and Michelle discussing John David and him being a pilot was that he should consider what it would mean--on the job safety, time away from your family, etc. They counsel all their kids that way on careers--think it through from all angles. But that doesn't mean a "no."

    I'm not naive, but I not stupid either. However after watching every single episode the Duggars have made I've seen that they haven't raised a brood of liars. If their children didn't believe it, they wouldn't say it. Don't be so cynical.