The comments on Hopewell’s latest Duggar piece are particularly interesting to me ~ especially when compared to the reactions over at Free Jinger ~ Quiverfull of Snark, where the consensus seems to be that Hopewell graded the Duggars way too generously.
What’s important to notice about this article ~ and Nikita’s comment really made this point ~ is that in delineating that very long, tedious 49-point list and giving the Duggar family a grade on how they measure up ~ it really highlights the tremendous amount of legalism, the impossibly high (and often warped) standards ~ and just how unrealistic this Quiverfull ideal is: Not even the Quiverfull Royalty ~ not even practically-perfect-in-every-way (and that’s not snark) Michelle Duggar can live up to the expectations which are held up as the biblical criteria for a truly Godly family.
Christian families can knock themselves out ~ they can try with all their might ~ but they’re chasing after an elusive and unrealistic dream and they’re on the road to burn-out, overload, disenchantment and in some cases, heartache and a crisis of health or loss of faith.
When we see the long, exhausting, impossible list ~ it becomes clear and undeniable that NO-ONE, no family ~ is going to measure up. The Duggar family does a valiant job ~ but it requires a lot of juggling, self-sacrifice, and non-stop work, work, work on the part of every available helper ~ it’s an elaborate and delicately balanced house of cards which is entirely dependent upon everyone contributing 110% of their time, energy, talent, etc. Not one of them can afford to take a rest long enough to catch their breath and really think about what they’re doing.
I say this all the time ~ but this cannot be repeated too often: The Quiverfull life is unsustainable ~ the older daughters bear the burden ~ they make it possible ~ they lose their childhoods, their individual identies, their selves, and sometimes, their sanity.
I realize this 49 Character Qualities report card is not typical of NLQ ~ it is not making nice (though I agree that Hopewell has been fair and even generous with the Duggars) ~ but I do believe it belongs here like a mirror ~ to reflect back to QF families the image they are trying to project ~ that of a perfect, godly family ~ and hopefully, they can take an honest look. If what they see appears unflattering ~ rather than fault the mirror, it’d be more productive to ask, “Why are we accepting this man’s idea of what a Godly family should look like?”
In the same way that mature, self-confident women can look at the perfect, unblemished faces gracing the covers of “women’s magazines” in the check-out line ~ and rather than rushing over to the beauty counter to purchase every available product, or feeling inadequate and ugly ~ grown-up women evaluate and judge themselves based on what qualities of beauty are important to them as unique individuals ~ this NLQ’s approach to the Duggar family.
Just as no reasonable person looks at the covergirl models and truly believes that level of perfection is actually achievable or even desirable ~ so too, when we observe high-profile Quiverfull families such as the Duggars ~ it makes sense to watch with a healthy skepticism ~ we can appreciate their good qualities ~ without feeling dissatisfied with our own families and putting pressure on ourselves, our husbands, and our children to be the epitome of Godly family perfection.
Oh ~ and a P.S. ~ Happy Birthday, Michelle!♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪
We at NLQ really do admire you ~ we’re just trying to keep perspective and not get all starry-eyed and entranced when we see your beautiful, ginormous, seemingly perfect family on TLC, the Today Show, and on the cover of People magazine when we do our grocery shopping.
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