49 Character Qualities of the Duggars: A Report Card

[Note: The point of this post is not about passing judgment on the Duggar family. The question is, does the lifestyle they endorse actually do what they say it will? Is it the perfect formula for a godly family? Or is what we’re seeing just a set of normal people striving within a very difficult way of living?

This post examines the Duggars’ own lives within the paradigm they themselves endorse. Given that we only see what our televisions allow us to-- does what we can see, reflect the image held up to us? And if it does not, how can we be sure about what we can‘t see?

No one expects the Duggars to be perfect. But that is not the question. The real question is: are they really showing us the best, most godly way to live-- or are we recipients of some level of what might be called “false advertising?” Please read "Duggar Bashing" for Vyckie's perspective on this Report Card..]

All of Bill Gothard’s 49 Character Qualities can be viewed online here.

by Hopewell

Alertness vs. Unawareness

Being aware of that which is taking place around me so I can have the right response to it (Mark 14:38)

Parents Jim-Bob and Michelle often seem oblivious to all that’s going on around them! Not to mention their apparent total disregard for OSHA regulations in building their home, it’s been quite a few years [on TV at least] since a bike helmet has been spotted and the girls continue to run things like an saw for cutting tile in loose dresses with unsecured long hair. Negative marks to Josh for only showing alertness of greed on the birth of his daughter and opting to have his wife deliver at home instead of overriding her panic at a new doctor. Sorry, but that seems more like “oh no, we’ll lose ratings for not showing the birth!” than any real concern for Anna and the baby. Kuddos, though, to Josh and John David for being alert to a roadside accident victim and performing lifesaving assistance. A big improvement in alertness to little Josie since her near-death experience when first home.

Grade for the Family D+

Attentiveness vs. Unconcern

Showing the worth of a person by giving undivided attention to his words and emotions (Hebrews 2:1)

Jim-Bob and Michelle model this perfectly for their children. Michelle’s rapt gaze as Jim-Bob speaks encourages her husband and shows him that what he is saying matters to her. As is typical of younger people, Josh and Anna struggle with this one more—especially Joshua who is likely used to being the oldest and shouting the loudest. He has gotten better at this over his first year, almost two years, of marriage.

Cousin Amy struggles with this. Grandma has it down to a “t” and the four oldest girls are coming along fine.

GRADE for the family: B+

Availability vs. Self-centeredness

Making my own schedule and priorities secondary to the wishes of those I am serving (Philippians 2:20–21)

The Duggars teach their children “J.O.Y: Jesus First, Others Second, Yourself Last.” And, surprisingly, they do a decent job of this. We’ve seen the girls make middle-of-the-night breakfast for Dad on his way to the hospital with Mama, Grandma tirelessly manning the single washer and dryer in the Little Rock house, Grandma cleaning and watching kids whenever needed, John David helping at Josh’s car lot, John David and Joseph staying behind to continue working on the Bates’ home, the older girls helping at everything all the time, Josiah picking flowers for Grandma and the girls, kids making cards and banners, even Cousin Amy pitching in to help with the little kids. Michelle loses some points here for not seeming to respond much to her little children’s needs for love and affection. (This could be the editing of the show, but seems likely to be more than that).

Grade for the family: A-
[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...]

NLQ FAQ: Are Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar "Quiverfull"?

by Hopewell Q: Are the Duggars Quiverfull? By their own admission, Jim-Bob and Michelle were so “grieved” after reading the information pamphlet in a birth control pill package that they turned their fertility over to God. (“About Us” para.1 See also, Dallas News).  That decision has been the reason for their incredible family size of [Read More...]