Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Duggars and TLC: Do You Think They Pay Attention to The Fall Schedule?

TLC offers a wide variety of programming, the Duggars being one small part of their schedule. Several families have appeared on TLC, telling their stories: The Roloffs, the Gosselins, and now the Browns. Of course family reality programming isn't all TLC airs, but they seem to be the shows that get the most attention.

We all know that the Duggars do not watch a lot of TV, in fact they go somewhere else to watch their own TV show, if they watch it at all. I remember when the Gosselin marriage was falling apart someone in the media asked a Duggar (I don't remember which one) what they thought about the whole mess and (again I don't remember well) from what I do remember, they had no clue who the Gosselins were. I'm sure they've heard of other TLC families--although now that I write that, I have to wonder if they actually do. For some reason, in my mind, TLC families are like employees and they should know each other--see each other around the water cooler. But then when I actually think about it, I know that isn't the case at all. Each and every show is a seperate entity being filmed by different people, by different production companies, and in different parts of the country. Being on the same network doesn't mean they know each other or have even heard of each other.

I have no doubt that there are a multitude of shows on TLC that Jim Bob and Michelle would avoid. There are a multitude of shows on TLC that I avoid. When I did have TV service I did watch the Roloffs on "Little People, Big World," but honestly, it was because I'm from the Portland-area and it was fun to see my old hometown on TV. The family itself wasn't that interesting to me. I have never seen a whole episode of the Gosselins. I remember watching a few minutes of their first season and I was appalled--she was a shrew and he was hen-pecked. I changed the channel quickly.

I was visiting my parents last week and as such was able to see the series premiere of "Sister Wives." I admit that this subject fascinates me. I've seen several different documentaries done by A&E, WE, and similar networks. With that tidbit in mind, yes I enjoyed the show very much and am hopeful that TLC will post full episodes, or that someone will kindly upload them secretly on youtube. Of course the majority of people aren't going to approve of this show. They aren't going to approve of this lifestyle. That's what makes me think of the Duggars.

Do you think the Duggars are aware of this program on TLC? Judging from the uproar on the "19 Kids" facebook page, many people have written to TLC complaining about the commercials being show during the Duggar's program. Knowing they are writing to TLC, it wouldn't surprise me at all if some had emailed the Duggars as well, letting them know. So assuming that they've been told, what do you think their reaction is?

I like to think with an open-mind. I would hope that with all of the pleas for acceptance and understanding that Duggar fans make, they could at least extend that same courtesy to this new program. No one is asking them to approve of polygamy, or even watch the show, for that matter. I just hope that the same courtesy can be extended to this new program that Duggar fans request for their favourite show. When you get right down to it, both families are, they believe, living out a biblical principle.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

WWDD Part III: A Person Can Be Rational, But People Are Morons

So the title isn't anything a Duggar would do, but the point remains valid. This is going out to all the people who feel the need to bash people over the head with rules, tennants, and commandments.

One reason why I respect the Duggars, while disagreeing with them so vehemently on many subjects, is that I never feel like I'm being preached to. I have never felt like they have some need for me to believe what they believe. They just seem to be living their lives in the way they feel compelled and hope that people will see their example, see their successes and be drawn towards G-d. Example vs. Preaching is a big difference to me.

Lately, those of us who frequent the "19 Kids and Counting" facebook page have been witness to an increased amount of preaching instead of example. At one point it was like the crusades all over again, the Salem witch trials, and the Spanish inquisition all rolled into one. I do not understand that mentality. Sure, you may be right and sure you may be having wonderful successes practicing your religion, but beating people over the head with it isn't going to earn you many friends or converts.

I implore you, hardcore Duggar fans, please try to remember how Michelle and Jim Bob act. Act as they would if they were on the facebook fan page (no they aren't, but pretend if you need to.) And please remember that not all Duggar fans are Christian or even religious at all.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Duggar Advice: What Have We Learned From Them?

We've touched on this in several different posts, but life being what it is, this topic has come to the surface so I thought we could talk about it. I've recently gotten Zephyr potty-trained, for the most part. Granted she refuses to pull down/pull up her own pants, but she isn't having accidents and she's sitting on the adult potty, so I'm happy.

This process has been long and hard for me. I tried several different techniques from books and talking to friends. I think it's important to give Michelle Duggar some props too, especially since I read her advice first and then didn't use it. She writes that she waits until the child is able to pull up/pull down their own pants (getting them on backwards is allowable hahaha) and she doesn't like using the small portable potty chairs. Well I didn't do either of these. We went through a long phase where she would go by herself when she needed to go in her potty chair as long as she had nothing on the bottom half of her body. If she had any kind of pants on, she'd wet them. Finally, somehow, we got past that and she wore underpants only. Then we added pants. Then we took her seat and put it on the big potty (the first time was traumatic, but now it's just fine.) And here we are.

I can see her reasoning on both counts. She had 17 kids when she wrote the book (pregnant with #18--she was born as they concluded the final chapters.) With that many children, having to take a child to the bathroom every 30-60 minutes and take their pants down and back up would be next to impossible--even if someone else is helping her (the child's buddy, for example.) And I also understand why some people don't like the potty chairs. They are kind of gross to empty and clean--it never fails how careful you try to be, they always seem to splash...bleah. She also pointed out that the child likes to try to "help." Zephyr tried to help many times and the mess was frightening. But on the plus side, they are the right height, the right size, and less intimidating than the big thing that flushes loudly. We moved to the big potty as soon as she stopped wetting pants because I wanted to be able to leave the house without pull-ups. Now that she's comfortable on the big potty, she will go on one no matter where we are.

So now that I've shared that story with you, let's talk about other advice or examples the Duggars have shared with us and we've used. I have always shopped similarly to them--discount markets and buying in bulk, buying the store brand (the name brand stuff shown in their pantry during the moving in show was donated to make the pantry look "full.")

We don't buy a lot of used things, because we don't buy a lot of things period, but we do hunt down the cheapest price for things we do buy. When I do shop the used market it's often from a favourite used book store in Portland, Oregon (from their website since I don't live there anymore) and eBay (although eBay doesn't have as much used stuff as they did when they started.)

I do go to local thrift shops when I need things for Zephyr and I have found many nice dresses at a particular one for me. I've even found very nice pants for my husband to wear to temple. The only thing I haven't found (and I have gone to 7 local thrift shops looking) are used shoes. I have never found any used shoes in my daughter's size--most of the stores I went to didn't have any selection at all, even for adults. I'm still kind of amazed as to why that is. So I find her discounted shoes at Ross or DD's. When we lived in London I bought and sold (after she outgrew them) designer baby clothes off of ebay, usually selling them for more than I actually bought them for. I tried doing that once we moved back here and most of the name brand designer stuff didn't sell or sold too cheaply, so I gave that up.

I keep telling myself I'm going to do the Proverb-a-day, but so far I haven't made the time to do it. We have, though, become much more observant in our Judaism and that has made our family more cohesive.

Every time I raise my voice I think of Michelle and remind myself to dial it down. I am hoping that calm and quiet will counteract the hysterics of a 3 yr old who doesn't want to eat her chicken.

I have tried a few of their recipes, but I rewrote them and personalized them a bit.

So while I enjoy them and am fascinated with them, I'm not the best follower in their way of life. What advice from the Duggars have you used and found helpful and successful?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A New Year and New Hope

As you likely know, I'm Jewish. And this month we celebrate the new year and the Day of Atonement (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.) We say goodbye to the old year and welcome in the new, and we ask G-d's forgiveness for the sins we've committed against him, as well as asking forgiveness from others for the sins we've committed against them. Why am I writing about this? Because I do see a bit of this kind of behaviour in the Duggar family.

Here's what I mean. In Christianity, you are forgiven for your sins by accepting Jesus into your heart and asking to be forgiven--Jesus has paid the price for the sins you've committed. Of course there's a bit more to it, but we're just talking an overview here. The Christianity I'm familiar with hold your sins close to you, you ask forgiveness in private and tend not to share them with others.

What I like about the Duggars is that Jim Bob and Michelle have an "open door" policy with their kids--their kids can come discuss anything with them and their parents will listen with open minds, open hearts, and friendliness. There isn't a fear there, regardless of what their kids are going to discuss. Sure it's probably tense at times and sure it's probably not always the most comfortable, but the fact that their kids know they have a safe place to go truly impresses me. I was always close to my mom and she's still one of my best friends, but there was NO WAY I was going to tell her things...not just because it would have been hard or embarrassing, but because she didn't want to hear it. Denial isn't just a river in Egypt.

The Duggars practice of talking privately with their kids, especially the older ones, reminds me a lot of the Day of Atonement. While Jews save everything up and wait until one day a year to get it all out, the Duggars are always willing to hear what their kids are thinking, what they may have done wrong and feel guilty about, and what they may need to ask forgiveness for.

I hope that I can have this kind of relationship with my daughter, that she'll feel comfortable enough to share her heart and mind with me. I know it's not something that comes naturally, it's something you have to work on, to build. This is one more thing that I'll take from the show and incorporate into my own life.

I also hope this New Year is happy and healthy for you all. Thank you for your continuing support!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Say What?: Duggar Production Values

So apparently at the end of the last show, they have a clip for the coming show that has Michelle saying "Some one is expecting!" Now I haven't seen the show or the clip, so I'm going completely on what's been told to me by several people. However, of course now the whole Duggar-universe is convinced that either Michelle or Anna is pregnant. I have to say that I think the producers came up with a great way to get people talking and get them to come back for the answer.

I am going to go out on a limb and say I don't think either Michelle or Anna is pregnant. First of all, if it was Michelle, she wouldn't have used that wording. She would have phrased it more personally, using words that are closer to her. She is always so passionate about her pregnancies, she'd never hold the announcement at arm's length like that--"some one"--no, she'd say "I." Also, I have doubts that she'd "pre-announce" a pregnancy for Anna. I can't imagine her taking thunder away from Anna--she'd let Josh and Anna announce that on their own. And finally, the show we're watching is on a delay by a few months. If either of the main characters were pregnant, we'd know from other media sources, they couldn't keep that a secret for that long--someone would have leaked it either by accident or on purpose. They live in a small town.

Who is pregnant? I'd guess that it's some friend of the family we haven't met yet or haven't seen for awhile. They have a lot of friends who live the same bountiful life they do--after all Mrs. Bates is currently pregnant and almost due to deliver. How old is the Wilson's youngest--are they still having children? Michelle comes from a relatively large family with siblings old enough to be her parents, technically. I would imagine then that she has nieces and nephews that are likely married and having children--so it could be a family member who is expecting. We don't see much of Michelle's family so we tend to forget about them and immediately look to Deanna and Amy Duggar as their only extended family.

We also need to remember that they homeschool and are always looking for lessons out in the world--remember all those field trips? Has it occurred to anyone that it could be a the neighbour's dog that's always at their house? A cat? A farm animal?

Any other theories? What do you think?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Duggars Five Years Later: Everything Turn Turn Turn

The Duggars are well into Season five of their show, add that to the 1 hour specials they did before that started, and they've had us in their lives for awhile now. We've seen them give birth to children, travel the country, visit new countries, marry, and evolve. Everyone changes as life moves on, as you gain experience and learn new things. One of the reasons many people enjoy the Duggars so much is because they don't seem to let their fame change who they are. I say "seem" because whether they mean to or not, they have changed. I don't think they've changed for the worse, mind you, but as you watch the early shows progress into the current shows, there are definate and noticeable changes in their lives and lifestyle.

One thing that really stands out if you watch the early 1 hour specials against a current episode is that they no longer seem to dress their family in the same colour when they travel. The recent trip to DC had Michelle commenting about how as a parent you are constantly counting your kids to make sure you haven't lost any. That was when it occurred to me that they haven't dressed in the same coloured shirts for a LONG time. At least not on the air.

In the early years we always saw them all sitting around the table for school with Michelle teaching. Now we see them scattered about and doing most of their work on a computer. Again I'm not saying this is a bad thing, after all there are excellent on-line school programs. I think this is one case where they evolved, rather than changed.

I think their spending has definately changed. While they still shop used and look for deals, I don't think they are as frugal as they used to be. They seem to be collecting a lot of toys: lots of cars and trucks (used is still a toy), several RTVs, and they have definately upgraded their computers for school from the old ones they used to have. They also always seem to have a different cell phone in each new season. Their grocery shopping and diet doesn't seem to be as frugal as it could be, or used to be. I think they are relying on a lot of convenience foods that are more expensive than cooking things from scratch, but then they always have. In the early specials when we saw them shop they were buying frozen pizzas and frozen burritos.

I think their faith has grown by leaps and bounds. They have seen the fruits of their labour in more ways than one. They have seen the glory of G-d right in front of their own eyes. It amazes me that people can watch season four move into season five and not believe in the existence of G-d.

What changes have you seen in the Duggars? Good or bad, please share your thoughts.