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!


  1. I talk privately with my kids too... but I only have two, so I don't have to make a huge deal of it. It occurs (occured for the 29 year old) every day. Not usually by appointment. However, I think you are building the Duggars openmindness and willing to listen up a bit much. I'm sure they do listen... but not to the same serious items I do. My children live in the real world, the items they are concerned about, need, and want to discuss are probably a lot different that that of the Duggar children. My children went to public school, so there were always discussions about schoolmates, teachers, dances, sports practice, the bus, the lunchroom etc... not much of that pertains to the Duggars.
    My children watched network and cable television, read books such as Harry Potter, had aquaintances that smoked cigarettes, had aquaintance that used alcohol, had tattoos, piercings. Thankfully my children had good heads on their shoulders, and were sensible in those areas. I doubt those uncomfortable conversations come up in the Duggar household...

  2. I don't doubt the Duggar kids have different discussions with their parents, however I think you underestimate the Duggar family. Their kids have repeatedly walked through Times Square, have spend countless hours in various major airports, visited more tourist attractions that I am aware even exist, and roam about in the real world. No they don't go to public school, no they don't watch much TV, however they are still human--they have feelings, urges, desires, and needs. Their particular upbringing doesn't make those go away. I'd take a parent willing to listen to me over one that prefers to live in denial any day, which was the entire point of the blog post.

  3. Hapy New Year Beth!

    Openess within a relationship requires trust first and foremost, and I find a lot of people are not willing to trust their children so the children never learn what trust is. The fact that the kids can talk to their parents is great. I see a lot of people who are unable or unwilling to talk to their kids and then wonder why their kids made stupid mistakes. Trust must be given so children can learn its value and also so they can learn when they screw up and break that trust what it is like ot lose it and have to earn it back!

    Yes the Duggar shave a different lifestyle but they DO have friends and they DO go out in public so they are aware of what goes not forget they also work in shelters (which is part fo their private life we do not see!), they have been to third world countries and they definately have an idea about sex. The good part about JB & Michelle is they have told their children about the wrongs they committed in their youth and why one should not do things like they did; trying to help your kids NOT make the same mistakes you did is a big part of parenting!

    I had issues with my parents where they believed everythign my older sister said and nothing I said; when I went to them with certain concerns I was ignored or just told to ChinUp and live with it. I did not have a good relationship with my parents until just before my Dad passed away 4 years ago, they found out a lot of thigns my sister had done were lies and they finally realized they had blamed me for things that were not my doing. Not being able to talk to my parents prevented me from going to them when some really bad things happened to me because I did not trust them to believe me. Years later when my mum found out about them she was pretty shell shocked and I think it made her realize what she had done. But it has taken a lot of years to work on just having a relationship where I cna talk to her because there is doubt.

    Many people liek to critize the Duggars because they do not like their lifestyle but in order to learn from their POV you have to realize that everyone is different and its hte differences that make people unique. I don't agree with a lot of things about them but I take lessons from what they do to try to make myself a better person. They have given me thigns to think about that I probably woudl not have gotten the courage to try(such as homeschooling and removing broadcast TV from our home) because they have the faith in themselves to do it.

    Face it if you met MaryBeth in public you would proabably judge her by herchoice of clothing and not even try to understand why she does what she does.Heck A lot of people have judged me and found out later that first impressions do not mean a lot! We tend to judge people by looks rather than actions and it's a big mistake. I learned long ago that the impression people make sometimes is so wrong compared to the person's character.

  4. "Many people liek to critize the Duggars because they do not like their lifestyle but in order to learn from their POV you have to realize that everyone is different and its hte differences that make people unique."

    I would say that the majority of people I have come across, in the year or so I've been following these Duggar blogs, understand diversity and that everyone is different. This is the credo on pretty much every well-moderated Duggar blog. I think it's a rash assumption to believe that everyone that criticizes the Duggars "do[es] not like their lifestyle."

    I could be considered a critic of the Duggars: after all, I question how well they hold their beliefs, how well intentioned they are concerning their children, so on and so forth. But I do not dislike their lifestyle, for it is THEIR lifestyle and not mine. I disagree with some tenets they abide by, but just because they put themselves on TV doesn't mean I can say their way of life is wrong; I would merely say that it's not for me or my [potential] children.

    "Face it if you met MaryBeth in public you would proabably judge her by herchoice of clothing and not even try to understand why she does what she does."

    I would not do this, and I think most people that watch the Duggars wouldn't, either. We're (the collective "criticizers," I guess) not criticizing them for the way they look! Where does this argument come from?

    I didn't intend to comment on a comment, but that last one just blew me out of the water. I'd say the issue Marybeth and Morla have with the first poster is the assumption that "serious issues" means cigarettes, tattoos, and sex. Certainly, her children talk about different things than the Duggars probably do, but I think she was trying to hit on how serious the private discussions are.

    To explain: I worry that even though JB and Michelle make time for private discussions, how much can the kids actually share with them? My parents were very open-- almost to the point of absurdity-- but, even as an adult living on my own, there are STILL things I wouldn't want to share with them.

    I know that the Duggar children must have this problem, because all parents are THE primary authority for children. It's hard to fess up a personal problem when your confidant is the person holding your reins. Also, another issue with kids with well-meaning parents is that they don't want to disappoint them with personal failure.

    I certainly felt this way, and I had very liberal parents. JB and Michelle are not, and, where my parents only expected me to be happy, the Duggar kids have a lot of expectations put on them by their parents. The Duggar kids do have other family members to reach out to, though, so I don't think they're in danger... I just don't think the Duggars parents are perfect, and that no matter how much they profess "full disclosure," you know there's got to be a lot of leeway.

  5. Actually, going from what Michelle and Jim Bob have said on camera and written in their book, their kids discuss a wide range of serious topics with their parents. Some examples they've given were romantic feelings (boy/girl feelings), guilt for a wrong-doing, something going on with a sibling--a fight for example, goals and hopes for the future, and school issues. And I will say again, I am envious that the kids feel comfortable or at least able to discuss these things with their parents. Of that list perhaps two items would have been discussed between me and my mom. "Mythoughtis" has made it quite clear through several of his posts that he is not impressed with the Duggars homeschooling ability and their sheltering of their children. It was that belief that I was addressing.

  6. I adore the Duggars and I believe the kids talk to their parents about certain issues. But...I don't believe for a minute that they discuss EVERYTHING with them. I don't care how much they mention "trust" or keeping up with their "hearts". There are "some" things I believe the kids keep to themselves...and G-d. ;)

    I have no problems with them talking openly with their folks. I just don't believe they are open about EVERYTHING.

  7. I guess I have been reading diferent sites than you have because I have seen some pretty intense nasty postings railing against the Duggars styles of dress, hair, religion,etc. I try to look at it from all sides, and avoid making comments that are disrpectful to personal choices. I have lived in several regions where people's religions is defined by their clothign and I am constantly amazed at how rude people are about making comments. I can tell people what order of Amish or Mennonite they are from their clothing, same thing with Hassidic VS Orhtodox because I have educated myself about the persons behind the clothing and if anythign my fascnation has grownbecause I understand a lotmore about them because of how they dress.

    I think the thing that has struck me most with Jessa & Jinger is where, during one interview they were asked about people remarking on how "protected/sheltered they were" and their reply was "Get over it" which leads me to undertnd that they know about thigns in the "outside" world but are happy to not have to try to conform to others expectations.

    I see parents nowadays having a lot less expectations of their children and it shows. Children are disrespectful to their parents because our society has driven the idea that children are the most important thing in life to the point of ruining spousal relationsips. Face it, when the kids are gone and you have lived your life thru your children, what is left between the two of you when faced with an empty nest? I feel parents have an obligation to train thir children up to be resposible adults who can fly away and LIVE. My Dh and I agree that anyone getting married/
    LT relationship must agree on money, child rearing and their religion or lack of. If you can't agree most tiems the relationship won't last.

    "Cigarettes, tattosand sex" well hate to say it but my eldest child/22 has 2 out of 3 of those in her life and I don't have a issue with them. And she talks to me about most issues I know alot ofher friedns can't talk to their parents about,if anything I am the "mom" they come to. The only thign I really have an issue with my kids getting involved with is addictive substances and they know the reasons why Iam against them. Thy have been taught from a very young age why they should not do cigarettes, drugs,or abuse alcohol- my own sister is an addict.

    I do not feel the Duggars are pefect not in any way but they do admit to being human and having human failures (IE the control of Internet and men;s visualization issues with it- being married to a man who has gone down that wrong road and who realized it was not worth losing a marriage over, I can pefectly understand having monitoring software) and they are very open about it and HAVE talked to their kids about it, because the kids themselves mention these reasons.

    I enjoy the Duggars because they give a different aspect on life. MaryBeth has taughtme a few new things about the Jewsih faith and I enjoy that aspect. I enjoy learning how people are coloured by their lifstyle choices which includes their reigion. I have great discussions with people about ther religion( just the other week I learned a LOT more about the CJCofLDS thru a client who just startd talkng because I mentioned something few people know commonly and because she knew I wouldn't be judgemental because I was interested and not in a snarky way) and the more I learn about people's religion the more it deepens my own spirituality because there are lessons to be learned.

    I guess I have rambled enough...oh MaryBeth did you finish that book about the Victorian age?

  8. marybeth, i also got the impression from the book that the kids were very open with their parents, adn the JB an michelle were more than willing to listen and be understanding when their child came to them with "romatic" feelings. i myself took that as a nice little euphemism to mean not just the emotional but the physical side of it too.

    just because they are homeschooled does not mean they dont have the same emotions and feelings and deal with a lot of the same issues kids in public schools deal with. granted, friends using drugs might not be very high on the list, but i went to public school and it was never an issue for me. the majority of people i knew didnt do drugs. a few smoked cigarettes but never anything serious - and im about th same age as josh. i know my brother has also had a similar issue. the most either of us had to deal with was a few people that drank. and even then, no one cared if we drank or not.

  9. I just don't get why the Duggars are 'special' or to be 'envied' because they have an open-door policy and talk with their children.

    ALL the parents that I know have the same policy. We just call it good parenting. It's not something that merits a tv show or a book. It's just what good parents do.

  10. As i've said many times in the post and in the comments....*I* don't have that relationship with my parents and therefore YES i do ENVY the fact that they are so open and honest with their kids...not all parents do that so mazel tov to you and your friends for being the best parents on the planet...must feel good

  11. Sigh...and Marybeth's sarcasm rolls on....."so mazel tov to you and your friends for being the best parents on the planet, must feel good".

  12. sadly, that wasn't intended to be sarcastic...feeling defensive?