by Mary Fischer
Have you heard about the Duggar girls' new book, Growing Up Duggar, in which Jill, Jinger, Jessa, and Janna discuss everything from dating to growing up in such a large family to their relationship with God and everything in between?
It promises to be quite the interesting read -- especially since they definitely aren't living the lives of typical teenagers. They don't kiss boys. They don't watch TV. And they don't frantically check and update their Facebook status 100 times a day because social media really doesn't fit into their daily life.
And while some will probably argue that they're missing out on so many life experiences because of the sheltered life they lead -- they actually seem a whole lot happier than a lot of teens today.
In a Q&A session with timesfreepress.com regarding the book, the girls made a few comments that really struck me as honest, mature, and surprisingly refreshing. When asked about their motivation behind the book, Jill Duggar said:
We're human just like everybody else, we make mistakes and have challenges, and we want people to see how God's ways work. We live our life on television and, Lord willing, everybody will be able to see Christian values that we hope will point other people to God. We are trying to be a positive example and not be self-focused; that's not our heart in this. We aren't trying to make a name for ourselves. It's just an opportunity God has given us.
And then on the subject of their very unconventional dating policy, she added:
Relationships between the sexes is the one we get the most questions about. We're not telling everybody, "This is how you do it." They ask. A lot of things they probably consider old-fashioned, but that's the way we prefer it. We want the family involved, for everybody to put their two cents in. It creates an environment where there is accountability. We focus on building strong communication, which is what a lot of relationships lack because couples jump straight to the physical.
Wow. Does she sound like a teenager to you? (I didn't think so.)
Oh, and here's what Jessa had to say on TV and social media:
We all get a cellphone when we get our driver's license. We aren't really into social networking because we don't have time to do a lot of that. TLC has set up Facebook accounts for our family and Josh manages the Twitter account for the family. If we get emails that really touch our hearts, we will try to answer as many as we can.
These girls may be living a very different lifestyle, but you know what's so great about it? They are so self-confident and happy with who they are as individuals because they aren't falling victim to peer pressure or outside influence from other kids their age.
Think about it for a second. Why do so many teenagers wind up having all sorts of struggles? Exactly. Because they fall into the wrong crowd or feel pressured to conform to certain standards because of what their peers are into. It's like they are afraid to be themselves out of fear that they won't fit in -- which isn't something the Duggar girls are concerned with. They are happy being who they are, which is more than most people in the general population can say, regardless of their age.
Good for them for staying true to what they believe in and refusing to compromise their standards just to please other people. I only wish I would've had more of their wisdom and self-respect when I was their age. (Things probably would've turned out a lot different.)
Do you think the Duggar girls are too sheltered?
No. Kids today could use more sheltering and keeping away from their peers. One of my regrets with my children id that I decuded to let them have more friends as a social outlet. Boy oh boy, I woukd never have done after seeing the negative effects it has had on my life and my children's lives.
I dont know.
I do know that I will teach my children how to choose friends wisely. I will teach my children my perspective on dating etc. At the same time I wont set unneccessary boundaries, or shield them from the reality of hoe the world is either. I am in the middle of a book called "grace based parenting" and I really like his perspective. One thing he says is to raise strong kids, not safe kids. I cant really judge what their family does.
Yes. They really aren't prepared to interact in the world as a whole. I mean if they plan to always stay within their circle of religious beliefs/living style then great. Do I think modern teens need more sheltering? Yes. But I think the Duggers take it too far. I was brought up in a similar restrictive situation. Of the 6 girls my age at church 2 committed suicide and 2 gave birth by age 14! They rebelled to the extreme to try to loosen the strangle hold their parents kept on them. Only 2 of us made it out relatively normal, and only 1 continued on in the religion. My family left when I was 14 when my parents divorced and my whole family was (and I'm quoting) "put in Gods 2nd best list" my mother was extremely abusive, rarely sane, as a low functioning bi-polar. Yet I would struggle to regain favor in Gods eyes because my parents divorced? Ha.