Wednesday, June 23, 2010

H-E-Double Hockey Sticks: The Duggars Keep Smiling

It's been pointed out on more than one occassion by more than one person that the Duggars raise their children not to show any emotion and to "always" put on a happy face. I think that is a little bit extreme and not entirely true.

We've seen various Duggar children in different stages of unpleasantness, but I think we can point to Jill as our lead example. Jill has bawled and blubbered on the TV screen more than once for more than one reason and instead of being "taken to task" for it, she was not only allowed to show her feelings, but she was comforted and encouraged by her father. In fact, it was one of the more moving Duggar parent moments--watching your child face dental surgery known for it's pain and seeing the fear and anxiety in that child, and doing your best to comfort and assure that child while still making them go through with it. If the Duggar children were really taught to surpress their emotions, that display would have never been tolerated, much less supported.

I think there is a difference from being taught to surpress your emotions and taught not to react emotionally. Letting your emotions rule your every response can have negative effects not only for you, but for those around you forced to witness your every display. Who wants 19 kids throwing a fit everytime they don't get the colour popsicle they want? No one wants even ONE child who continually has that response. I see no reason to coddle that kind of emotional outburst on a daily basis. It is entirely a different animal to be allowed to express your fear, grief and anxiety in legitimate situations. We've seen the kids have this freedom in more than one instance and that is quite healthy.

They were allowed to grieve and feel however they needed to feel when their Grandfather passed away. Men of Jim Bob's generation and most likely in Jim Bob's part of the country, were raised not to cry. Most men pre-70s were taught that crying wasn't manly. I think I saw my father cry once and that was at his Mother's funeral--but I honestly don't remember so I could be guessing. He never cried in front of me--even when I saw him in the hospital after 3 of his strokes and when he knew he was never coming home, but going to a nursing home. He may have, but if he did he did it privately or in front of my mother. Jim Bob even pointed out that he was willing to show his emotion over his father's death in front of his children so they'd understand it was all right to grieve publicly for a man they loved and would miss. To have that foresight while dealing with grief yourself is staggering to me.

After saying this, I'd love to know where the idea that "you're going to hell if you don't do as we tell you--show no emotions" hypothesis comes from. I have never EVER heard the Duggars use the word "hell" or any euphamism for it in a Biblical sense. There are many forms of Christianity and many ways to approach your beliefs--some denominations do seem to subscribe to the "fire and brimstone" version of G-d, however most seem to subscribe to the loving and kind G-d who isn't waiting to punish. I've never seen any evidence that the Duggars are of the "fire and brimstone" belief. For a family so open and honest about their religious beliefs, I'd think after 4 seasons we'd have heard something about it by now.

Do you think the Duggar kids are taught they'll go to hell if they don't follow the Duggar belief system? Do you think the Duggar kids are forced to put on a happy face? What are your supporting facts? Please share your ideas.


  1. The Duggars advise that if you want to learn more, then you should find a church that teaches the bible. We have seen many instances of them studying the bible and they will no doubt have read the Gosples and Revelations, where Christians get most of their information about eternal life and the alternative. Nowhere in my understanding does it say that if you get it wrong you will go to hell. We are all sinners. That's kind of the whole point. We get it wrong because in our own strength we cannot succeed, only when we have a relationship with God and repent of our sins.
    Additionally Christians also believe that the only way to God is through Jesus. However I think you will probably disagree on that point Marybeth.
    The Duggars not only know all this they demonstrate is very clearly in their words and actions. Do I think that Jim Bob and Michelle tell their family they will go to Hell if they don't follow their beliefs, no only what they need to do to go to have eternal life.
    Do I think they are forced to put on a happy face, no but they are taught self control from an early age.....

  2. As a Christian, I believe (as I imagine the Duggars do) it is not our place to judge others for their sins, and especially not judge whether or not someone is going to hell. That is for God to decide. However we do believe that Jesus is the only way to God and that hell is a place where there is no God. However we are called to love others, feed the hungry, help those who are suffering, and hope that they will see God in us. God is the judge of who goes where, that is not for us to choose or dwell on. And also, it is not what we do that matters, it is our salavation through Jesus. No one can stand before God, we are all sinners, and are helpless without our Savior.

  3. I don't think they teach their kids that it's either Heaven of Hell. If they ddi I am sure we would ahve heard an innocent remark from a younger child about going to the bad place.

    I also do not subscribe to the idea that we are all sinnners no matter what. Nor that salvation is thru accepting Jesus. I was not brought up in a religious household but have a definate sense of a greater power. Call it G-D, The Great Spirit, he/she definately exists.

    I have always believed it is the Journey you make in life that is more important and staying on the right path, than declaring how religious you are, to be your greatest reward. I do not believe a person can sin knowing it is wrong and still be favourable in G-d's judgement. There are rules that show Man what is right and wrong and while one can be wrong and realize their folly and repent and change themselves, I do not feel that declaring yourself saved thru any religion will abscond you from your sins if you continue to repeat them. If you feel it is wrong then what are you going to say when you meet your maker? It's OK I'm saved?

  4. Celtic! :) great post as's been too long! I wanted to thank you for the reading suggestion--i have "Inside the Victorian Home" from the library and it's FASCINATING!

  5. "We want them to know that when an awful thought comes, it is an attack from Satan, but we assure them that God always provides a way to escape!" Page 149

    Part of being a Christian, is believing in Heaven and Hell. The Duggars follow scripture very closely. They have said many times, that the Bible is their guide for daily living. If "Satan" comes up in a conversation, then talking about Hell is not too far behind. I don't believe JB has "told" his kids they will go to Hell for not following the rules. But, they are taught to read and believe in the Bible. So, I'm guessing that, as the kids get older...they learn about what NOT to do, to keep from going to Hell. Hope I'm making sense. This is just a guess. I have no proof.

  6. LOL, yeah it's kind of crazy here at work summer is always harderand right nwo I am trying to make Renaissance costumes for the family(we go to Ren Faires during the summer)! I'm glad you enjoy the book, it lives beside my bed. ALso try seeing if you cna find replicated Sears Roebuck catalogs from the era those always are fun to browse as well!

    Oh and just call me Morla!

  7. Heaven Hell Right Wrong
    Seems to be the same when you put them side by side. Children need to learn the differences and helping them make the right decisions is part of parenting. Knowing consequences is part of that learning process. Whether you want to put other names upon it is up to the individuals