Duggars

Repost: “Why don’t you eat what you’ve got?”

Here’s a repost from June 12, 2012. I am sharing it because it makes a point about a much more recent situation that will be relevant to today’s fresh content.

I remember when I was a small child, my mom would fill up my plate at dinner time.  I’d eat a few bites and then want more.  My mom would look at me in disgust and say, in her most peevish tone of voice, “Why don’t you eat what you’ve got?”  Suitably chastened, I would then try to enjoy what I already had on my plate before accepting more.

Many years later, I look at super sized families like the Duggars, who are hellbent on having “blessing” after “blessing”.  To date, Michelle Duggar has had 19 pregnancies.  She’s had two sets of twins, fifteen single births, and two miscarriages.  She and her husband, JimBob, now have 19 living children, several of whom are now adults, but still sleeping in the same dormitory like bedroom as their toddler aged siblings. 

The Duggars, who once lived a very humble existence with all those kids living in a tiny house, now live in a large compound.  They have a reality television show that has allowed them to enjoy things that would have been well beyond their means had they never been discovered.  Oddly enough, the Duggars claim not to watch TV… and yet TV has afforded them a luxurious lifestyle.

The Duggars in the early days. They did not live in the Tinkertoy Mansion.

Since about 2004, this family has been on the airwaves and I have watched their ranks expand with each new pregnancy.  I’ve watched their clothing styles change from frumpy jumpers with lacy collars and polo shirts with khakis to name brand sportswear.  There are an astounding number of “blessings” in that household… and yet the Duggars still want more.

They claim that each child is a “gift” from God and they are happy to accept any “gift” God wants to send to them.  But I can’t help but think that with each new “gift”, they get the chance at another season on TV.  Last year, Michelle Duggar hoped to have her 20th “gift”, even though her 19th child was born very prematurely and has had some significant medical obstacles to overcome.  I think about the cost of that 19th child Michelle Duggar had in her 40s…  That child–Josie– no doubt generated huge medical bills.  A regular middle class couple with a child who had Josie’s medical problems, would no doubt have serious challenges taking care of that child’s needs. 

Yet the Duggar family had 18 healthy children before Josie… 18 kids who no doubt also generate expenses.  Yes, several of those kids are now legal adults who can help out, but they still live at home.  They are committed to the “family business”… JimBob’s side businesses and their TV show, which they have to keep on the air if they hope to maintain their lifestyle.   

The Duggars have become entertainers.  And they are presumably paid well to be entertainers.  Michelle Duggar’s hyperactive womb has turned them into stars just for existing and being conservative Christians. A lot of people admire them because they seem like such a nice, wholesome, loving family.  But here they are, whoring themselves on TV– a gadget they claim is too evil to use themselves– and Michelle is encouraged to risk her life to keep having “blessings” to prove to everyone just how special and blessed they are as a family.  To me, it just looks an awful lot like greed and foolishness.

I tell you what.  I cringe when I hear that family talk about how every child is a blessing from God and that each child is proof of God’s favor.  What about the many men and women who are infertile?  Does God not love them too?  I don’t have kids.  I always wanted them, but I fell in love with a man who had a vasectomy with his first wife.  A vasectomy reversal has not been effective in making us fertile… and rather than spend thousands on medical or legal remedies in order for us to become parents, we opted to stay childless.  Does that mean that God doesn’t love us?

I realize we’re pretty lucky.  The desire to have children together was not that strong for us.  There are a lot of couples out there who don’t have kids and go to great lengths to have them.  They endure expensive, painful, and invasive medical treatments or they set aside their privacy to allow social workers and lawyers to allow them to adopt.  And sometimes, those great lengths they go to aren’t enough and they end up with nothing to show for their efforts.

I look at the Duggar family and others like them and I hear my mom chastising me.  “Why don’t you eat what you’ve got?”  I want to ask Mrs. Duggar why what she has isn’t enough.  She has beautiful children, most of whom are completely normal and healthy.  It looks like even her 19th child, Josie, will overcome many of her medical challenges.  Why isn’t that enough?  What good is being a mother when your oldest daughters have to assist you in raising your children?  What good is being a mother when you can’t even tell reporters what your children’s favorite colors are or what subjects they enjoy in school?  Why can’t the Duggar family enjoy what they already share and so many people would love to have?

Just a thought that popped into my head this Sunday morning…

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musings

Tantrums and “fightin’ words”…

Yesterday afternoon, as winds blew fiercely through our ‘hood, I got bored and started checking out YouTube. Someone uploaded a video of a young girl having a massive tantrum back in 2016 (or possibly earlier).

I don’t know why, but I started watching this… and quite clearly heard the other girl, apparently filming all of this for posterity, say “Fuck you!” while their mom was outside of the car. Mom buckles the girl into her seat and they start heading for home as the child continues to wail and flail. At one point, the other girl yells that her sister has somehow hurt her, and she yells at her little sister to “get off her”.

I know it’s kind of rotten of me, but I laughed pretty hard when the girl said “Fuck you.” It’s as if she’s heard it a lot of times and it means nothing more than a childish oath to her, like “buzz off” or “go suck an egg.” My guess is that the older child either watches a lot of cable TV or has frequently heard older people say that. I decided to share the video with friends because, honestly, I wasn’t sure I’d heard her clearly. Had she really said “Fuck you!” on camera? Yep… she had!

I couldn’t help but remember what it was like for me when I was that age. I HATED seatbelts with a fiery passion when I was a child, even though in those days, they were just lap belts in the back seat and we were not required by law to use them. I hated riding up front especially, on the occasions I was forced to wear a seatbelt (which wasn’t that often, really), because the shoulder belt would always hit me in the face. I remember throwing tantrums whenever I was required to buckle up– usually by my dad, who was sometimes a stickler for safety and always wore his seatbelt, but was inconsistent about making me wear them. Usually, he’d make me wear one if he was feeling especially controlling. Mom was the same way, although she generally would rather let me go unrestrained than listen to me scream, cry, and yell. How times have changed!

Another thing that struck me was that if I had ever thrown a tantrum like that, especially at that age, my dad would have really given me something to cry about. And if I had said the word “fuck” in front of him, particularly at that age, there would have been a beating. I’m not exaggerating about that. My dad hated swear words, even though he spent over 20 years in the Air Force.

Bill once made him turn seven shades of red when he explained the expression “Charlie Foxtrot” to him. Dad was unaware that it was a euphemism for “cluster fuck”. Bill whispered, “You know, Sir… ‘cluster fuck’.” My father looked like he was going to pass out right there on the spot. I think he didn’t like swearing because his father cursed a lot, and my dad didn’t have a good relationship with his dad. So anytime someone cursed– even my mom– he’d get uncomfortable or even upset. And unfortunately, I have always enjoyed cussing, so I sometimes got in trouble for dropping four letter words. Dad would usually respond in a physical way or lecture me about how unladylike/unrefined/”lazy” cursing is. (I don’t agree that it’s any of those things, and I don’t let men tell me what to do anymore. I have a great vocabulary. I simply enjoy cussing.)

When he was angry, my dad could be very scary. His face would turn beet red and he’d lose control. Then he’d take out his rage on my tender ass. I remember one time, I said “Hey! You! Shut the **** up!” and he was in the next room. It was something I’d heard on TV and I thought it was funny. I hadn’t even said the word “fuck” , and he came over and knocked me upside the head. Then he yelled at me, causing me to want to keep saying “fuck” over and over again. I generally hated my dad when he disciplined me in that manner. Years later, I still deeply resent him for hitting me. The last time he did it, I was almost 21 years old. I told him if he ever laid a finger on me again, I would have him arrested for assault and battery. I meant it, too. Anyone who hits me now better kill me.

Them’s fightin’ words… better watch your step when you use them.

As you can see, I learned nothing from those discipline sessions. I still use the word “fuck” with wild abandon. I never understood why it was such a big deal not to use it. I think most “taboo” words are stupid. Yes, it’s important not to use language to hurt other people, but by and large, they’re mainly just words. I’m much more concerned about the intent behind using certain words than I am the words themselves. The child in the above video said the word “fuck”, but it didn’t come across to me that she was being truly hateful. She was simply annoyed by her little sister’s outburst. She probably didn’t even know what “fuck” means.

This is what Bill says to me…

I think if I were that girl’s mom, I might have her look up the word “fuck” and use it properly in a sentence. Then, I’d tell her to be more careful about when and where she uses that word, and consider whether or not it’s the word she really wants to use in any given situation. Because… when it comes down to it, some words are “fightin’ words”, and if you use them in the wrong place or in front of the wrong person, you could really come to regret it. On the other hand, I say this not as a mother myself. As irritated as that mom sounds as her other child is filming, I give her credit for not exploding. She seems upset at first, but then calms down and drives the girls home, even though the younger child is still freaking out. Some might debate whether or not she should have kept driving during the girl’s fit, but my guess is that the mom just wanted to be in her home, rather than a hot car. I also wonder if she knows all of this is on the Internet for the world to see.

And this is my response.

Looking on YouTube, I see that there are a lot of videos of children having tantrums. I guess some people are amazed by them and start filming, then can’t resist sharing them with the world. It makes me glad YouTube didn’t exist when I was a small child, although I’ll admit, sometimes tantrum videos are fascinating, funny, and/or disturbing. Personally, I think it’s very risky to share such things online, but that’s probably because of my social work training.

I do think that tantrums need to be addressed in children, although it’s best to do that when the parent is somewhat calm. Otherwise, the child can grow up to behave like this woman…

There’s no telling what led up to this outburst… It was widely publicized a few years ago and I think I read that these two eventually broke up.

I wonder what led this guy to film his wife. I guess she had a habit of freaking out like this, because otherwise, why would he be prepared? He thinks it’s funny, which, of course, makes things much worse. On the other hand, I can’t blame him for laughing at his wife because she does look and sound ridiculous. As I wrote the other day, when someone is making a scene, it’s not the calm one who is going to be stared at and judged. And that’s certainly true in this case, although I’m sure some people probably think the guy is a jerk for filming his wife and laughing at her. God bless him, though…

This behavior in me would probably prompt Bill to shop for ballgags. Fortunately, I did eventually outgrow tantrums, even if I never outgrew swearing. Either way, I prefer swearing to physical violence.

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