Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Pox On Ye: A Duggar Dilemna

Now I have to say this, I haven't actually seen the episode yet, but enough people have commented on it that I thought I'd throw in my two cents. Apparently Jim Bob made a comment during the episode with the kids having chicken pox that since they've now had the chicken pox, they won't ever get shingles. Well, it's time to spread the word that his statement is wrong!


This question came up on the "19 Kids and Counting" facebook page several times and several people, me included, have told their tales. I had chicken pox as a newborn--about 6 months old. My 10 year old (at the time) sister had them with me. I got shingles at age 38 and it was horrifying! I had one open sore on the middle of my forehead and my entire face was swollen like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. My husband was convinced I had a spider bite, but at the ER everyone who came by to look immediately said, "Oh, that's shingles." I slept with ice packs on my face and was never so grateful as when the nurse gave me a shot of Demerol in my behind.

All 12 Duggar kids who had chicken pox in the episode now run the risk of contracting shingles. Of course not everyone who has had the chicken pox WILL get shingles, you just become able to get it. They say that shingles can/is brought on by overly stressful situations. I have no idea if that is entirely true, as I certainly don't remember being overly stressed when I came down with it. We had just arrived back home from 3 weeks abroad, 2 weeks in the UK and 1 week in Israel and the trip was fantastic. But hey, travel is stressful. I just know that I was surprised to find out it wasn't a spider bite.

A lot of people on the facebook page also brought up the chicken pox vaccine. I, like many others on the page, didn't know there was one. My daughter's shots are all current and I do not think she's had a chicken pox vaccine, as I don't believe it's one that's considered "required." I put that in quotes because nowadays it seems that shots are becoming more of a choice than a requirement like they used to be. When I was growing up there were only a couple acceptable reasons not to have shots at school, and those were religious reasons and if you were one of those people for whom the shot would kill you. I don't want to get in a debate over shots vs. no shots, I'm just talking about the chicken pox shot. And continuing with the chicken pox shot, it was also stated by several people that the chicken pox shot is not terribly effective. Apparently having the shot will not guarantee you a chicken pox free life.

It was also brought up that most people seem to think of the chicken pox as not being very dangerous, more of a nusance than a dreaded disease. I remember a few years ago chicken pox parties being in vogue. Parents of young kids would find out a classmate or playmate had it and all of a sudden a chicken pox slumber party would happen so they could make sure their kid had it at a young age when it was "harmless." Having it as an adult is more harmful, apparently. Doctors freaked out over this idea of purposefully giving your kid a disease and pointed out that chicken pox can have dangerous outcomes.

It would be nice if the Duggars could correct that statement. I am surprised there wasn't a pop-up in post-production that corrected that statement. I hope people don't take Jim Bob on his word, because in this case, he was wrong.

Monday, August 30, 2010

WWDD II - Why We Love The Duggars

A few things have happened in cyberland recently that have prompted me to write this. As I see people posting comments on line, comments that they claim to be in the spirit of The Duggars, I am reminded exactly why I find the Duggars so appealing: They are not at all self-righteous and they do not proselytize.

Yes, the Duggars are a faithful family. They live their faith out loud and proud. They do not, however, smack "non-believers" over the head with their faith and insist that their faith is the only way to live. Saying that I will add that they DO believe it is the only way for THEM to live.

I have never once gotten the impression, after watching the many seasons of episodes, that if I were to meet the Duggars in person and let them know that I am an observant Jew, that they would in any way treat me as someone that needed "saving." I have every confidence that they would respect my faith and honour it.

Leading by example and preaching to the masses are two very different things. The Duggars appear to be quite careful to lead by example and let their actions be a reflection of the scriptures, rather than quote scriptures to those they believe are acting improperly.

There are some things that could lead one to disagree. They do have their "Nike" rule. Apparently when they see someone wearing clothing that is provacative, they whisper "Nike" to the boys and the boys then look away. They also cover up with hands anyone on TV who is wearing provacative clothing. While these are things that could be viewed as them looking down on the wrongly-dressed people, they do these things discreetly and within the family, not directly to those wearing the clothing.

I appreciate the Duggars for their ability to keep their beliefs a priority, but at the same time keeping them personal. Deanna Duggar told me she is descended from Jews. That likely helps with acceptance and tolerance of others.

For those who do feel the need to point out the wrongs of others and continually insist that Christianity is the only path to follow, I urge you to do as the Duggars do: Live your life and your beliefs and tolerate those who choose to live differently.

What do you love about the Duggars? What about them appeals to you?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Bates Hotel: Duggars Return

Now this isn't in answer to a request that I criticize the Duggars, but rather it's in response to the episode in Season 5 that I just watched: The Duggars going back to the Bates to visit. I wrote about this back in Season Three when the Duggars went to visit the Bates and surprise them with an addition to their house. Now from watching those episodes, you get the idea that the addition was initially to be a small-ish room added onto their house--a laundry room or maybe another bedroom. A day later Jim Bob has turned the addition into a 3-story house built on the front of the Bates current house. There are repeated comments from Bates and Duggars and Wilsons that "blame" Jim Bob...or rather...credit Jim Bob...for the size and expansion of the initial gift.

Here's my other question that has been raised repeatedly on the blog...it's a gift. What part was a gift? Were the Duggars funding the initial room addition or just offering free labour? They made it sound like the Bates had been planning this project for years (possibly saving up for the project) and just hadn't gotten it done--so it's possible that the labour was the freebie. If that's the case then I do have a problem with Jim Bob's grandiose plans--if the Bates couldn't afford his vision, then that wasn't very friendly. "Here, build this massive extension, we'll see you in a few months when we drive back through..."

Certainly it's quite possible that TLC picked up a portion of the tab. It's also highly likely that a lot of materials were donated for product placement or advertising purposes. Those things we'll probably never know unless someone spills the beans and we find an article about it somewhere. You all know I won't be doing that research hahaha. We did see Jim Bob showing off his skill for finding a bargain. He did take the Bates to places with good deals and places that threw in freebies or discounts. However we didn't ever see any money change hands on any delivery or purchase. We may never know.

But that still brings me back to my original point. So Jim Bob brings his kids back a year later (or whatever) and gets a tour of the house that is STILL not finished. Does he offer to put his kids to work? No they go to a parrot jungle. I have a definate problem with that, but since the Bates don't, I suppose it doesn't matter much. The Bates are seemingly happy with their home even if they don't have all 6 bathrooms functional yet!!!

I would love some insight into this. Am I looking at this from the wrong angle? I suppose the Bates could have always put their feet down and said "no, pull it back, too big" and they didn't. They also still have babies coming, so they obviously need the space.

Am I missing something here?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Duggars, The Birds, and The Bees: Let's Talk About Sex

One of the more fascinating dichotomies I have found with the Duggar family is that for all of their conservative leanings, you have to believe that almost all of their kids know exactly where babies come from and how they were made. Sure the really young ones probably are in the dark, but with all of the kids going as a group to ultra-sounds and with all of the births the older 10 or so have seen, the subject had to have come up. I for one doubt the Duggars are telling them the stork visited.

What was interesting and rather touching was what we learned when Josh got married--that sex and making love are two quite different things. This is a difference that a lot of us have been desensitized to in the world today. The tangent of sex in advertizing aside, I am quite envious of the Duggar's ability to have their children be aware of the science of childbirth while keeping the more sensual discussions of the subject a special event before marriage.

I actually have the hilarious "sex talk" story from my growing up years in that my mother simply told me that I would never be having sex and therefore there was nothing to talk about. Yes she really said that. Was she serious? No, of course not, but what she was saying is that....Heck no I'm not telling you anything. She was the avoidance type and working in the school system, she knew that I'd learn everything the way most kids do--from talking to their friends. Was this the best option? Of course not. I had a lot of misinformation until the film they showed us in sixth grade. Talk about embarassing. The sad thing is that I've been married three times and she honestly would prefer to believe I was a virgin on all three of my wedding nights. I'm 40 and a mother and she still doesn't want to discuss the issue. Ok maybe a little before SHE remarried but that's a discussion for a future therapist.

Back to the Duggars. I'm certainly not one that can claim such luck when it comes to long marriages--I have been married 4 1/2 years and I plan to be married to this man until death parts us--and before you can snark, no I actually didn't see that happening with the first two. But anyway, BECAUSE of my past experiences, I can clearly see why they teach their kids about courtship.

When Jim Bob and Michelle talk about how she had dated previously to him and brought in baggage from those relationships, I knew exactly what they were talking about. Anyone who's gone through a horrifying break-up or been cheated on, for example, will undoubtedly have trust issues when they move on to the next person. I certainly did, regardless of how fabulous, wonderful, and trustworthy the next person is. Unfortunately, that wonderful new person has to pay for the damage the previous person caused. On the flipside, the downside to courtship is that you're waiting until after you've married to find out if you're truly romantically compatible. While that isn't the core of a marriage, it is a big enough part of it.

What do you think is best for kids? Do you tell them from the beginning where babies come from or wait until it comes up--like if YOU are pregnant? Have any fun stories to share?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

You Can Disagree Without Being Hurtful: A Ridiculous Duggar Criticism

So I'm reading through the comments and I get one from "anonymous" (of course) posted under the "Rules" section, that says my blog would be better if I would stop worshipping the Duggars--and admit that I worship them--and write about all the criticisms I have about them. Fascinating.

I had thought I'd made my views about the Duggars quite clear in the opening entry. I disagree with quite a bit of the Duggar's core beliefs. I make no mystery of that and list them openly. However, just because I don't agree with someone's beliefs or their lifestyle doesn't mean I'm going to publicly attack them and criticize them. Why is it necesary to criticize? What purpose does that serve? What does that teach others about my character? What does that inspire others to see in themselves?

Do I worship the Duggars? No, I don't. I'm entertained by them. I'm fascinated by them. I have a healthy dose of respect for them. But I certainly don't want to live their life or believe what they believe. I have a healthy dose of respect for ANYONE who has the courage and ability to live their faith openly, honestly, and completely. I certainly haven't reached that point in my own faith--I still don't eat completely Kosher, I drive and use electricity on the Sabbath, and I have only begun my journey into the Torah. The Duggars are truly living their faith--they don't just speak of them, they live them. While I don't care for some of their beliefs--while I disagree with many of them and vote accordingly--I respect them, because...they walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Are they perfect in that? Of course not, no one is.

It's much the same respect I have for my Rabbi and his family. Do I agree with all of his beliefs politically? No, I don't. Is he still my Rabbi? Yes. Because at least when he quotes Torah portions to back up his beliefs, he isn't just quoting the ones he needs. He is living his Torah completely. He does keep kosher, he does follow the laws, and he believes in what he lives. While I still don't agree with his interpretation of the Torah, I respect it. Because there are always more than one way to view a situation, to read a scripture, and to believe.

Yes, there are things the Duggars do that bother me. Yes there are things they do that I'd love to "help" them with. While most of these things have to do with the running of their household and have nothing to do with their core religious and political beliefs, I still will not write about how wrong they are for not doing what I think they should do.

If you read through all of the blog entries I've written, you undoubtedly will find me disagreeing with the Duggars. I would hope that I had kept friendly and upbeat, but I'm sure there are times when I was snarky. The bottom line is that this blog is written as a way for me to discuss the Duggars, not rip them apart. They get plenty of that elsewhere.

It is possible to disagree with someone without being rude or hurtful. To the anonymous who's post began this whole entry, you may want to think of that if you reread what you sent me.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Elephant in The Room: Duggar #20

People...and people...just won't let it go, so let's get it out there in the open and talk about it some more. I wrote about this long ago, when Josie was a newborn, but let's revisit the topic since it seems to be a magazine hot ticket...

Will the Duggars have #20? I suppose most people read that article and assumed the Duggars were trying for #20. That's not what it said, it said that they would be open to more children if G-d gave them more. There is an inherant difference in those two statements but most people who aren't really Duggar-philes won't see it. There will always be those who assume and believe that Michelle is very methodical about her childbearing--planning each child and having them all on purpose--not of her pregnancies being surprises. Most of us know that isn't the case. Sure she is probably more aware of her cycle and body than a lot of us, simply because she's been through it so many times, but call me naive, I will always be of the belief that they have that many kids because they are head over heels puppy dog in love with each other and that means they have marital relations quite often. Just look at the two of them on screen--after 25 years they are still IN LOVE. We should all be that lucky.

One other belief I will never subscribe to is that Michelle should live in fear now, simply because 1 in 19 had a difficult birth. My one and only had a premie birth and I had pre-eclampsia but I will graciously accept and frankly continue to try for another pregnancy. I WILL NOT LIVE IN FEAR simply because some people think the odds don't look good enough. By that logic, since all pregnancies in all women are potentially fatal to both baby and mother, no one should ever have children again.

The Duggars aren't stupid. Michelle has spoken to her doctors. She's had her check-ups following Josie's birth. She knows what her body is capable of and what her doctors think. Since no one has heard from any of HER doctors, I think it's ridiculous to speculate on what, if anything, is potentially wrong with her body after Josie's birth. Again, ANY pregnancy for ANY woman is potentially dangerous. The Duggars are living their faith and seriously...so far it's working quite well for them. Josie survived and is thriving. Move on to the next complaint please.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Duggar Engagement on The Horizon?

We've had a lot of comments from people hoping for a Duggar/Bates engagement sometime soon. I will be the first to admit that I having been hoping for that for a season or two. Here is why I don't think that's going to happen any time soon.

The more I rewatch episodes from Season 4 and as I just watched the first two episodes of Season 5, I realize that there probably isn't anything serious going on between Jana or John-David and any of the Bates. Think back to when you were 20. Now compound that with the upbringing the Duggar and Bates kids have had. If you finally found the one person you were sure you were meant to be with for the rest of your life, would you be able to stand being away from them for such periods of time? Maybe you would, maybe you've learned a life of self-sacrifice in service for others. But you're also human. You feel.

I can't stop thinking about how Josh acted after he'd realized that Anna was his true love. He was basically useless in Arkansas. He visited Florida every chance he could. The Kellars came to Arkansas any chance they could. It was all about Josh and Anna and courtship. While the Duggars and the Bates have gotten together more often in the past 3-4 years than they have in the previous 15, the Duggar's move to Little Rock and the reason behind it all but stopped those visits. I believe in Season 4 (and I could be wrong, so please correct me) the families only got together once, maybe twice. Once that I can remember--when the Bates came to visit and see Josie in the hospital. Yes Jana looked a little, overcome, as she blushed everytime Zack (isn't that the oldest Bates?) was nearby, but that doesn't mean much.

Would going to Asia for 2 months be something you would actively seek out if you were head over heels the way Josh and Anna were? Again, yes you might, after all high school sweethearts go to different colleges all the time, but I really have to wonder.

I seriously believe that Jana, at least, since the trip was her idea, is taking things slow. I think she's seriously deciding what she wants to do with her life and actively seeking out experiences that will expand her horizons.

John-David, while not as vocal, seems to be leading quite a fulfilling life as well. I'd heard before that he was a volunteer fireman, but this was the first time in my memory that they've shown him in that role. That experience will definately teach him a lot and "grow him up." I do remember that a few of the Bates kids are also volunteer firemen--isn't one of the girls? Michaela?

While Josh was running his own business before he became engaged to Anna, I think that Jana and John-David are going a bit above and beyond the example that Josh set for them. I think that's good for them. I think that it's quite likely that we might see Jana in some kind of school atmosphere before we see her engaged. John-David? Perhaps he will head down the matrimony path first.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Duggars on TV

We discussed, briefly, the Duggars and their TV house rules or policies. Now let's discuss the fact that the Duggars are ON television and that they make quite a nice living being on television. Many people see the fact that they limit the TV their kids watch and their kids being on a TV show as being hypocrytical. I think that's a valid belief to have, you can think that all you like. I'm really on the fence about it, however I have to say that it doesn't BOTHER me enough to choose a side. I guess I'm saying that either way, I really don't care, because I enjoy seeing their show so much that I'd rather them stay on the air.

I do think that if you understand WHY they are on a TV show, you may be a bit more accepting--at least that's why I am. I understand that they are not in this for the almighty dollar, but rather the Almighty himself. They view their opportunity to be on TV as a direct way to show the world how it's possible to a) live debt free no matter how large or family is b) successfully raise your children to be polite, productive, and helpful no matter how large your family is and c) live your beliefs openly and honestly and fully.

We aren't turning this thread into a "cash cow" discussion. Yes they make money from being on the show, and probably even more importantly, they get a lot of perks from being on the show. We know. They know. That isn't the point here. Their reasons for doing a show go much deeper than that and no matter how many times it's been said, I'll say it again: They were debt free before TLC even knocked on the door; they had the house kits bought and paid for before TLC knocked on the door. TLC is not the reason they are debt-free. Yes, they are in a better version of debt-free now, but this is America and they are free to be as capitalistic as they choose to be. That's all there is to that. Please make your comments on this in the posts about this specifically, thank you.

So...Are the Dugar's hypocrites. Tell me why they are or why they aren't.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Duggars and TV

I've written a little bit about this topic before, but it was a long time ago, and now it seems appropriate to revisit the topic. I say that because I was finally able to watch the first 2 episodes of the new season last night and I caught something that some may not.

When most people write of the Duggars, and I'm sorry to say this but it's usually the anti-Duggars--but not always, they write of the Duggars not watching any TV. This just isn't true, and the Michelle even said it in the into during the first and maybe second season. "We watch VERY LITTLE TV..." Not no TV, but very little TV. I believe what she is referring to here is BROADCAST television--shows currently on the air. Many many times we've heard them talk about videos and DVDs they allow their kids to watch. Frankly I believe they do what we do...they have no cable or satellite service and only watch things through a VCR/DVD player. My husband and I take it to the next level wherein we both catch up on our favourite shows on-line (19 Kids and Counting, for example--thank you for posting them TLC.)

I will be the first to admit that as parents we are not as restrictive as the Duggars. My daughter watches kid DVDs of the standards--Blue, Dora, Little Einsteins, Ruby and Max, Builder Bob, etc. I'm sure most of those aren't seen at the Duggar's. She's also been exposed to the TV and movies that my husband and I enjoy. Funny or sad, she does start singing "men men men men" when she sees any picture of Charlie Sheen.

So why am I bringing this up now? Like I said, something I noticed when I watched John-David and Jana staying up all night to avoid jet lag--never works for me by the way. John-David mentioned that they watched a few westerns. This reminded me that the Duggars do watch some TV that isn't necessarily Christian based. I have no doubt that John Wayne movies are allowed. They are also rumoured to have the entire run of "Andy Griffith" on dvd. So there is some that's definately allowed. I'd say it's allowed but not encouraged. Of course it's far more healthy for the kids to be running and playing and using their minds rather than sitting in front of a TV screen. And yes, my child should be too. Honestly, I think having so many kids makes limiting TV much easier--if my child had siblings to play with she probably wouldn't watch as much as she watches.

We'll discuss the Duggars BEING on TV tomorrow :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

You Gotta Have Faith

I haven't seen the premiere episode of Season 5, but I did read the interview the Duggars gave and saw the clip from the "Today" show. Is anyone at all surprised that they are more than willing to receive more children? Of course we aren't--those of us who have faith.

Now I'll be the first to admit that my faith is nothing like the Duggar's faith, but I will say that I have the utmost respect for them. I have respect for them the same way I have respect for my Rabbi and his family--and I don't agree with everything they teach either--but I always have respect for anyone who lives their faith so completely and wholly. They certainly do a better job than I do, than a lot of us do, and that deserves some recognition as far as I'm concerned.

Faith is a constant, yet every evolving entity. While it's true that I can only speak for myself, in watching others live theirs, I honestly believe that faith really is what gets you through the day. Faith is that extra hand helping you through the hard times and applauding you through the good times. My faith has always been like an appendage, something I only rarely have to consciously think about, because it's always there, always with me. I believe because I don't know how not to believe.

The Duggars aren't as subtle with their faith. For them it's always in the foreground. Yet while that's apparent, it doesn't appear to be something they have to work hard at. Of course we all have times of stress and weakness, but by watching them it all seems to come so naturally to them--it never appears to be something they have to work hard to reconcile. I find that admirable.

How do you feel about the Duggars expressions of faith? What does "faith" mean to you?