On the drive up to my parents I had the chance to watch a couple episodes from Season 2 of "18 Kids and Counting" and one thing really struck me as I rewatched the "ice storm" experience: Jim Bob saying that his children were going to be watching his response to this calamity. That spoke to me in volumes--and made me look at and question my own parenting. Everything we do as parents is an example to our children and WOW is he aware of it and on top of it.
It reminded me of when I was about 23, newly married and looking forward to having kids one day. We were at my family's summer home located in a resort and down at the pool during "adult only" hour. We let the kids in the pool know it was "adult" hour and they had to get our for awhile and they all did. After a few minutes a man and his 2 tween daughters showed up and he told them to swim now before they left. We reminded him that it was adult hour and kids weren't allowed in the pool right now. He told us that he said it was ok, he was an adult. We pointed to the kids around the pool who had just gotten out and were following the rules, was it fair to them that his kids got to break them? Remember I'm 23 and think I know everything in the world about everything--newly graduated from college after all--and made the logical comment "so what you're really teaching your children is that when they don't like the rules in life they can decide they don't apply to them?" While what I was saying was true, it didn't help the situation, although he did get his kids out of the pool, but made things miserable for us by getting in and swimming around kicking as much water as he could. hahaha
Annoying 23 year old or not, my point was valid. The examples you set for your children do have a broader scope and the one he was setting was wrong and he didn't see it. I am constantly amazed that the Duggars are so focused on "being an example." As I watched through that DVD I kept hearing the kids repeat that phrase, "trying to be an example," or "reminding her to be an example," etc. I think that is why people comment on the kid's behaviour. Notice Jim Bob and Michelle aren't the ones saying how well behaved the kids are, it's the fans who comment on it. But it's true, the older girls were saying that during the black out when there was no power, it was important that they watch how they respond because the little kids were looking to them to see what to expect. I'm twice Jana's age and not nearly as aware of myself as those older girls are aware of themselves.
Remembering the "What Would a Duggar Do?" mantra, I do find myself asking that more as a parent now. My three year old isn't going to be three forever and I need to be much more aware of what examples I'm setting for her, both spoken and shown. This really was one of those times when I had to say "wow, I am actually being 'encouraged' and not merely entertained, by the Duggars."