A Love That Multiplies ~ The Duggar's New Book

by Hopewell

Regular readers of this blog know that I watch TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting–” a reality show featuring the family of Jim-B0b and Michelle Duggar. I make some people very happy with my blog posts on this family and get flames from others. Such is life!! So, when I spotted a used copy of their new book so I could “buy used and save the difference,” just like the Duggar’s recommend, I knew I’d have to review it here!

Like everything Duggar there is much to admire here: some good tips about listening to your children, listening to your spouse, spending time as a family, spending time in God’s word, gathering together with other believers, living debt free, controlling your anger, modeling good behavior, drawing close in times of crisis, and looking for learning opportunities all around you.

A Season of Re-Runs:

This book, however, does have a few flaws that need examining. First: repeat, repeat, repeat! Much of this book is a virtual transcript of several recent episodes of “19 Kids and Counting” (or it’s previous incarnations). If the reader has never seen an episode it might be new, but I doubt it. Like any politician, Jim-Bob “stays on message.” You can find nearly everything in this book in other radio or podcast interviews, newspaper or magazine stories or blog posts.

Another big problem is that this book, when not repeating everything said in the past, is a public relations exercise. Nearly everything the Duggars have ever been criticized for on message boards, blogs, in the press–it all gets “answered” here. Don’t expect any shocking answers! Jim-Bob stays on message. [Read more...]

Debt-Free Duggars ~ Pt. 1: How Quiverfull Couples Support All Those Kids!

by Hopewell

The Duggar Income Stream [minus TLC]

Before TLC and their reality TV show offer came on the scene, Jim-Bob and Michelle Duggar were already on their way to financial security—a situation not normally found in homes with no college-educated adult. But, like the people profiled in the book the Millionaire Next Door, Jim-Bob and Michelle have always lived BELOW their means and have always had common sense about purchases.

They also share a vision for the type of family life they wanted to lead. While Jim-Bob did hold a job, and a mortgage, at the time they married he soon realized this was not a sensible way to live. His love of buying cars, fixing them up himself, and reselling them for a profit was the first step to a secure future. Although he acknowledges that the used car business is not looked on with much respect, he decided to set up a car lot and run it in a Christian manner. Soon he was making enough off used cars to quit his day job. Eventually, they rented out the mortgaged house and moved into a tiny house on the car lot to increase their income. Along the way, he made a few good decisions [and a few bad ones]. (Duggar, chapters 1 & 2 and “17 Kids and Counting: Cheaper by the Duggars”).

One good decision was to buy a tow truck. While the first model he bought wasn’t worth the money, unlike many college-grads he knew enough about cars and other equipment to buy the towing equipment and winch off another tow truck, hold on to it, save up for a truck to put it on and eventually he had an excellent tow truck and no loan. The towing business grew fast and he had to hire help. Finally the collateral supplied by the car lot inventory, a bent for strong and creative negotiations and the savings from their income allowed the Duggars to enter the true source of their security: REAL ESTATE. (Duggar, chapters 2 & 3).

Jim-Bob’s parents were in real estate and soon Jim-Bob and Michelle also got realtors licenses. Jim-Bob discovered he had an eye for investment properties and the stomach for deal making. After saving up $65,000 to pay cash for the home they would still be living in when they filmed their first TV special, the Duggars went on to make several profitable real estate deals. One deal, which cost about the same amount as the house, netted them a profit of nearly $200,000 after Jim-Bob put in a few hours on a backhoe clearing the site. They also bought a 20-acre parcel of land with an old chicken hatchery on it. They converted the building into commercial rental space and used part of the land for their dream home. The rent collected from the rental properties was their main income for several years. In their show (“17 Kids and Counting: Cheaper by the Duggars”) he shows viewers the property he owns and leases to a cell phone company for their transmission tower. In addition to the real estate deals, Jim-Bob often buys and sells other items. While building their home, he acquired and resold a bucket-lift truck and a scissor-lift among other equipment (Duggars 20 and Counting and elsewhere).

Jim-Bob figured out how to efficiently provide for his family by being observant, staying debt-free and having assets that could be quickly liquefied to provide cash for new ventures and by using all his negotiating skills to get great deals when he did buy big ticket items. Without a high-paying white collar profession, Jim-Bob would have been routinely away from his family for 80 or more hours a week to try to earn the income they needed. Instead, he found a way to provide a level of income for the family God would send him and still be at home to help with that family as much as possible.

[Read more...]

Quiverfull Daughters: The Making of a Helpmeet

TLC’s 19 Kids & Counting: The Duggar Family on How To Prepare For Courtship & Marriage

by hopewell

“Helpmeet” is such an odd-sounding word to modern ears! But it resonates well in the lingo of the King James Bible. Girls born to Quiverfull families begin their training for the life’s calling as a Helpmeet [aka wife and homemaker] almost at birth.

Girls are born for one and only one reason: to serve a husband. In that capacity, as his helpmeet, she will bear and raise his children, feed as many children as God sends on whatever income he earns, may raise a garden and animals or run a home-based business [with his approval], may home birth and will certainly homeschool all of her children.

Becoming a successful, multi-tasking helpmeet is not something you just “do.” Something that important cannot be left to chance. The training starts almost at birth with “child training.” Moms have a number of helpful “ministries” to turn to for child training guidance. For infants and toddlers two of the best known are Ezzo and the Pearls—both of whom are very controversial to the secular world. We’ll briefly look at each.

Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo developed the popular and often criticized programs “Babywise” and “Growing Kids God’s Way.” As with any program there IS some good and helpful information as well as a lot that many people find abhorrent. “Babywise” teaches new parents to adhere to rigid schedules and rules for bedtime, breast feeding on a parent-friendly schedule and bedtime rigidly enforced with few, if any, interactions with parents after “lights out” no matter the tone of the child’s cry.

“Growing Kids God’s Way” is a huge undertaking for parents. Both parents must attend each session and both must complete weekly homework. This program met tremendous success in conservative churches and megachurches during the late 90s and on. [They also do offer a single-parent version now.] Parents are taught to take back their lives by having a parent-centered, rather than child-centered home. [For the gist of the controversies see www.ezzo.info, but please note this IS a biased site.]

Michael and Debi Pearl of “No Greater Joy Ministries” are some of the most controversial child training advocates in the world today. Several deaths have occurred in homes following the Pearls advice. [NOTE: I am NOT saying in any way that the Pearls are responsible for the deaths, just that the parents were known to follow their methods.]

Their book, To Train Up a Child, advocates corporal punishment to a degree seldom seen today. The idea is to compel instant, willing and cheerful obedience at all times from even the youngest children. Failure to comply results in physical punishment. Parents are taught that children are born with a sinful nature and that they must begin early to “train” the child in the “way he should go” as is taught in Proverbs 22:6. Therefore, it is appropriate to even “chastise” babies with a switch—even one made of plumbing supply line. Parents are told

Training does not necessarily require that the trainee be capable of reason…”[Pearl & Pearl, Chapter 1.]

With this background in mind we can now try to piece together the “training” of a future helpmeet. In her infancy the girl we will call “Jerusha Faith” may be enticed with a toy and swatted for reaching for it. She may be fed only when Mama says and not when her tummy says she is truly empty and hungry. She may be left in the throes of colicky insomnia to cry it out alone for hours on end. In short, she is learning, like a Nun, to deny her “self.”[Note: it is important to remember that ALL families are different not all my use these practices and some may even agree with the critics!]

This dying to self will include seemly innocuous phrases like the one the Duggar family uses which is summed up by the acronym “JOY”—Jesus First, Others Second, Yourself LAST. (Duggar family website, FAQ) Even in infancy little Jerusha Faith is learning that she is not important as herself. She is merely important when she is doing the will of her authority figures—in this stage her parents. [Read more...]