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it’s all too much
Mar 1st, 2010 by wrekehavoc

if eight was enough, what does that make 19?

the other day, i spied BC watching yet another taped episode of  the duggars: 129 and counting. BC really enjoys a lot of the programming on TLC, and while i think TLC has probably begun going down the supersized family and little people tracks a bit too much, there are some programs i personally enjoy. for example, i loveloveLOVE the cake boss.  the way buddy corrals his nutty family and employees and customers is a tour de force. and usually, his show is not something i give a second thought to my kids watching…as long as no erotic cakes are involved.

anyway, back to the duggars. i guess someone in programming thought, well, hell, if people loved the religious jon and kate before they imploded, people will really flip for this bible-thumpin, homeschooling, small city of a family. and of course, these people are not evil people. they have values, they want to share their values with their kids, and perhaps one day, they will breed enough to inhabit a small city as the city’s only residents. (KIDding. what sort of crazies would want to actually do that?)

obviously, they live their lives and we live ours.

but the bright side of this show is that it has opened BC and i up to all sorts of teachable lessons. and i mean, ALL SORTS. because they are all about imparting their values to their kids. and so i, too, sure as hell am about imparting lessons to mine.

teachable lesson number one:  is it really fair to continually bear children when there are so many on the planet who do not have loving parents? BC jumped right onto this one, citing yet another TLC/Discovery  special she and i watched together about this couple in georgia who adopts special needs children — lots and lots of them — and tries their damndest to help them develop as much independence as they are able to develop. of course, one does wonder why all of these people collect children in quantity the way some people collect coins. but at least, in this case, the latter family is accepting children who, for whatever reason, were not accepted by their own parents. and they are loving them.

meanwhile, mrs. duggar continues to be a breeding machine. apparently, she is accepting all the children that the Lord will give her. are these children considered a reward for her goodness? it does beg the question then about infertile couples — is G-d punishing them for being bad people? i doubt it sincerely.  so of course, the duggars have inspired a conversation around here about birth control. i’m sure it isn’t what folks like the duggars would have intended, but kids need to know that you don’t just have to make a baby every blessed time you have sex.

teachable lesson number 2: is it fair that the older kids have to babysit and teach the younger kids in these huge families? this was an interesting point to ponder. the eldest duggars appear to be responsible for teaching their younger siblings and looking after them. i’m all about family; and of course, there are moments when the eldest are called upon to help out in ways in which they are capable (for example, i remember some times when i was growing up where my oldest brother, BTD, babysat me.) but there’s something patently unfair about this expected regular indentured servitude.  of course we all want our children to grow together and to help each other; but even BC noted that these teenagers never get to be teenagers.

it just didn’t sit well with BC or me. children always want to please their parents; it’s that whole approval thing. as a parent, i try to encourage my kids to share their opinions and ideas, regardless of whether i would agree or disagree. we discuss. sometimes, we end up agreeing; sometimes, we don’t. but i wonder whether those duggar children would ever complain or point out to their parents respectfully that they do not, in fact, work for them. i doubt it.

teachable lesson number 3: is it enough to help when someone you know needs help? or is it good to help just because it’s the right thing to do? this one stemmed from a moment of mommy behaving badly. (yes, that would be me.) i was rather annoyed when jim bob duggar notes that he was donating blood for the first time because his baby (#19 for those of you keeping track at home) needed his blood.  it goes without saying that any parent worth his or her salt would give up anything for his or her child. i know i would do the same.

but a grown man who never, ever donated blood before? ever? that upset me.  BC and i talked about how there are things in life you do because they help other people. yes, one day, perhaps you might benefit from these gifts; but you don’t do these things for the personal benefits; you do them because they are the right thing to do. i explained how when i was in high school, i didn’t make the weight requirements for donations, so instead, i helped to run the school blood drives.  (and yes, i was scared of the needles, which didn’t help things.) in time, i made the weight requirement (and how!) and donated blood. the last time i donated was a day or so after hurricane katrina hit new orleans. i remember it quite well; BS and i were to have gone to six flags on a grown-ups only date, but it was raining. we decided to go donate instead.  i felt honored to do it.

who knew that a few months later, i would be a beneficiary of someone else’s donation?

i’m not the most religious person in the world, but i like to think i am somewhat spiritual at times. and i have often thought that it isn’t about what G-d can give to you; it’s about what you can give to the world. you don’t have to be a person of faith to see that we humans are all in this life together, and we all should try to help each other.  i’m sure the duggars are lovely people. but i wonder if inherently, they spend more time looking inward instead of outward toward the world.

and as for BC? she certainly picked up something in sunday school. her observation? mom, the best kind of mitzvah is when you do something to help someone else and it’s anonymous.

i hope she carries that in her heart and it instructs her actions in life.


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