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?


  1. As an atheist, I experience a lot of intolerance from people of EVERY religion, so I completely understand your rationale on "Duggars wouldn't try to save me" theory. I really do believe that if I walked up to the Michelle (maybe for an autograph or something) and told her I was an atheist, she would probably just smile, dismiss my comment as TMI (which it would be), and sign my autograph.

    However, I don't believe that the Duggars are exactly what they seem to be on TV. Yes, in public and on camera, they may preach tolerance-- but we don't know what they're like when the cameras aren't around. I'm not going to assume that they're intolerant jerks, but you also can't assume they're the angels they are on TV. Humans have faults, humans are inconsistent, and humans are very good at putting masks on for the Public-- and the Duggars are human, too.

    For example-- and I know you'll probably disagree with my opinion, here-- but consider how the Duggar kids are taught to cover-up from head-to-toe and only go courting with parent-approval. Now, again, I'm not going to assume that Jinger and Jessa would point finger at me and trash-talk behind my back if I came to their house wearing Daisy Dukes, stripper heels, and a tube top (they'd probably just scream 'Nike' and get me out of there)... however, I can't believe that they don't see themselves as morally superior for following their God's law-- especially compared to me, who would certainly be hell-bound (according to pretty much any religion).

    What do I love about the Duggars? I started watching because I liked seeing parents so involved with their kids, even though there were so many. Also, as an Atheist, it's enlightening and entertaining to see how religious families work. They reinforce my beliefs with every episode.

    Now, I watch because: a) I love the kids, b) 19 Kids and Counting the only soap-opera I indulge in, and c) I'm continually astounded by the Duggars (and I don't think this is the place for THAT list, lol). And, just as I have been doing since I started watching years ago, I'm still trying to figure out how they function... that part never gets old.


  2. on the clothing issue - I do NOT believe they are looking down on others - it is more about not having the boys be tempted to lust - No different than my husband has me rip some of the photos/ads out of his sports magazines when he gets them. It also teaches them to respect the women for what they think/say/do rather than their sex appeal.

    This is also just a guess, but based on their beliefs and behavior - I would guess that they are more vocal about their faith and probably proselytize to those they have established relationships with.

    What do I love about the Duggars? And Why do they appeal to me? They show that you do not have to buy your kids attention, and that being part of a family means that everyone helps to make it successful - and it's about learning and experiencing life Not about what others can do for you.

  3. athiest: i do agree with a lot of what you say, except with the "feeling superior" thing--i kind of got the impression that the daughter who was explaining the situation with "nike" was kind of embarassed about "i can't believe we have to do this and i can't believe i have to tell you we do this..." ...i also get the impression that more than one Duggar daughter is embarassed by their swimming attire...they all seem to look very uncomfortable in them, and not just because they are baggy and ill-fitting....

    i think it would be easier for those of us who play Duggar defender if they DID act a bit superior, but in this instance i just don't see it...the more down to earth and easy-going they appear, the more "perfect" they appear to some and no one is perfect...the Duggars aren't...but from an argument standpoint it would be easier if their imperfections were more glaring and in your face...

  4. i ahve to agree with Chipper Jules. They strike me as the type of people who would simply accept you as you are, and then as their friendship with you grew. spoke about faith then. i would hope that they would try to keep it a healthy debate - especially since even amongst Christians there is much debate, and some (like me) would be considered VERY liberal in the eyes of some Christians. I tend to approach the Bible as a Jewish text (which is is both the "old" and "new" were written by men who proclaimed themselves to be Jewish adn grew up in a Jewish faith) and I think its important to realize that when we read and try to understand what is written. Thus, i will turn to many Jewish rabbis and scholars for clarification before I will run to a local pastor or minister or rev etc.

    Personally, I feel inspired by the Duggars. By many of the choices they make. I have been shown a completely new world in which homeschooling is possible and you are able to have educated children (although to some the term educated may seem a bit broad). All the Duggar children are polite well spoken and because they don't see a lot with TV etc they appear to be much less materialistic than most kids i know and see in the public school systems. I also am very much against a lot of what is happening with the public schools at this time so when i have children, i am praying home schooling is a viable option.

    They have also inspired me to get up and get busy and not just always sit around the house like a lazy bum. its REALLY hard somedays since i have had a rather privileged life but i find it inspiration than they are able to and thus think "if they can do it, so can i!"

    i never heard the NIKE thing but i think its funny. adorable and cute, but not something they should have had to tell the rest of the world. and i didnt see any of them saying anything when they met dolly parton so im finding it a bit strange. they were definitely hanging out wiht her and even had a little "jam session" going. so maybe this is something new?

    and atheist: i have had more atheists try to push their views on me than people of ANY other faith. or i suppose in your case a lck thereof??? not sure what the correct terminology is. sorry if i offend. but like i said, i have had more encounters with people who are atheist and agnostic than i have had with any other religion group. so i thought it was very unfair your generalization of people with faith.

  5. Rebecca....i too had issues with Dolly...first off, neither Duggar parent knew who she was in the little interviews and that floored me, since they both grew up watching TV--in the 70s...and they are from the south! ....and you would think they would research who they are introducing their children to before hand, although during the meet with Dolly, either michelle or jim bob said the kids knew who she was from going to the dixie stampede dinner show they had to have seen her picture there...but to dolly's credit, she was dressed relatively demurely--as in her cleavage wasn't showing at all....first time i've ever seen her covered up...

    i also agree that the nike thing probably shouldn't have been mentioned to the entire world...that seemed private and family only info and it also seemed like something that could be interpretted as intolerance--i don't think it IS intolerance, but it certainly could be seen as such from people with differing views of the family's lifestyle...

  6. ya think any of the Duggars have seen women with large breasts besides Dolly?? Just one of my crazy random thoughts.

    The parents don't act like they are "holier". But...I have seen the older kids act a certain way when witnessing things that is not part of their lifestyle. And yes they did come across as being "snobby". Well, that's ok because I like to see authentic behaviors. :)

  7. I was just having this conversation with someone the other day. I don't at all feel that the Duggar's EVER try to push their beliefs on anyone, look down on people because of their differing lifestyles, or judge. Of course they go on missions and spread the word of God, because that's a foundation of Christianity, but they don't do it in a forceful or "my way or the highway" kind of way.

    My favourite example of this is Cousin Amy. In one episode last season maybe, JoyAnna was asked in an interview if they agreed with how Cousin Amy dressed/acted because it was so far from their way.

    JoyAnna's response was something similar to this: "we love Amy, she's so much fun to be around and we accept her for who she is, even though she's different from us."

    I just thought this was totally amazing for someone as young as JoyAnna to say, having grown up in such a strict environment. These kids have obviously been taught tolerance, which makes me so so happy.