I, like many of you, was a child of the 1980′s. I grew up watching the hit TV shows Family Ties, Growing Pains, and the Cosby Show. I can assume most of you grew up with TV moms like Elyse Keaton, Maggie Seaver, and Clare Huxtable. I loved those fictional families and recently I watched Cosby reruns on Netflix with my oldest two children.
It is funny to think that all three of these TV moms worked outside of the home. Elyse Keaton was an architect, Maggie Seaver a news reporter, and Clare Huxtable a courtroom lawyer. Somehow the dads managed prestigious jobs as well. An adult was always present and no child was ever left in day care. They made it look easy.
Now family sitcoms have become a thing of the past and reality TV has taken over including “reality family shows” on the TLC network. I know of a few families who gather together to watch the famous Duggars of Arkansas featured on 19 Kids and Counting.
First of all let me clarify I love the Duggars. I watch the show on Netflix with my oldest. But when watching Jim Bob, Michelle, and their crew of 19, you have to remember–”This IS TV.” A small (very small) slice of their life is condensed down to a 22 minute segment. The producers are going to create a story using lots of editing that is going to captivate an audience.
This is the main reason I read A Love That Multiplies which is Jim Bob and Michelle’s Duggar’s latest book. I wanted to learn more of their story beyond the episodic segments. It does give more a picture of the struggles, the tears, the times of fear, and the mistakes. They have gone through numerous trials in the last two years including loss of parents and a premature birth of their 19th child in which Michelle’s life and her baby were at risk.
I think some of us love the Duggars because we like seeing a close-knit family that focuses on serving and caring for other people. It is quite different from the dog eat dog scenario of shows like Survivor or the bickering and drama of other reality shows like MTV’s Teen Mom or the former John and Kate Plus 8. In many ways, the Duggars give breath of fresh air.
We have to remember the Duggars are not super human. They fail, they struggle, they have conflicts, and their house is not always clean. They have also paid a price for being in the public eye. Being in the media spotlight is NOT as glorifying as some make it out to be.
When I think about the kind of mom I want to be, I cling to Galatians 1:10 which says, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant to Christ.” Don’t try to be an Elyse Keaton or a Clare Huxtable or a Michelle Duggar. Don’t try to be like the hip mom across the street or the down to earth mom next door. Be who God wants you to be. If you seek Him, I guarantee you His guidance will become clear to you.
Michelle Duggar never claims that her way of living is THE WAY all moms should live. I was talking to a mom who adheres to some the same principles as the Duggars (no birth control, modest dress, homeschooling) and she truly believes it is the ONLY GOD HONORING WAY to live. She was trying to convince me that education outside of the home (our kids are in Christian school) and women juggling jobs or careers goes against Scripture. The Duggars don’t do this. They aren’t against public education. They embrace people who don’t wear skirts. They encourage moms like us to be the best moms we can be in whatever direction God leads us. I have a tremendous amount of respect for that. Plus I think I can learn a thing or two from someone who has been through potty training at least seventeen times!