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.
Discuss this post on the NLQ forum. Comments are also open below.