Favorite "Meditation of My Heart"

Call unto me,

and I will answer thee,

and shew thee great and mighty things,

which thou knowest not. --Jeremiah 33:3 KJV

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Us vs. The Duggar's

NOTE:  FIRST let me say that this is NOT an announcement that we are adding to our family.  Now with that out of the way, let me explain what it is about.

Many people who learn about our big family ask me if I watch the Duggar's or read their books.  Since we do not have cable TV (yes, I'm serious...just the free local channels), I have not watched the Duggar's except youtube clips.  I've read some blog entries and one book, but in general, I know very little about them.  However, it is obvious that in popular culture the Duggar's are considered the standard on "how to be a large family", and I must admit I tried their homemade laundry soap as part of my research when figuring out my own recipe.  I've also tried a couple of their dinner recipes, but other than soap and dinner, much of their other ideas are not a fit with our kids' needs OR our income OR the size of our house.

So a couple years ago when I first saw the Duggar's central closet (http://health.discovery.com/videos/17-kids-counting-jim-bob-says-good-bye.html) my first thoughts were not positive.  I wondered how the kids got a sense of ownership. For example, if one got a new sweater for Christmas and now it is in a shared closet where siblings could wear it too.  Ownership, responsibility and taking care of one's own things is a BIG lesson that all our children must learn, but our children who spent their early years in orphanages have an extra challenge in understanding good stewardship of resources and ownership.  In fact, even though we have a toy room, I have always insisted that each child can have some toys in their bedroom too just to "practice" being responsible for something. 

Therefore you might be surprised that my Christmas break project has been....drum roll please.....creating a central closet!  So what changed my view?  Simple.  Kids who grow so fast that they cannot tell their current clothes from their outgrown clothes AND since we have what Corrine calls "pass-me-arounds", the clothes that I moved from David to Jon to Matt, would end up back on David!  Also with our current age range of 15 years to 3 years, the toy room was becoming impossible.  Little ones were breaking older ones toys and the older ones were getting angry; so I decided much more could be learned by having each child's toys in each bedroom rather than their brother's 3 sizes too small pants!

The plan is that each Friday our kids will pick out their clothes including socks, underwear, PJs, and outerwear  for the next week & put these 7 to 14 outfits in their closet.  At the end of the week, they can return clean leftovers AND I better not find leftover clean underwear!  (It will give me a double check system on unddies so now I just need one on tooth brushing...that reminds me that I need to blog the Christmas toothbrush story...I'll try to do that this week.)

So in the "Us vs. the Duggar's" match-up, we have now tried their soap, their food & their closet system!  However, I must share with you that when I think of amazing big families, I think of my mom's parents who raised 9 children without much money or the Amish families around Seymour, Missouri.  These Amish families often have 10+ children and no running water and no electricity, but their kids and their clothes are clean.  I'm more interested in how they manage their home, than how an upper-middle class, custom-built home owner with a reality show is managing their home.  However, I don't think my kids would agree to a few outfits each as the Amish do so I have to look to the Duggar's on this one.  By the way, I have nothing against the Duggar's, but the lifestyle they live is beyond what most of their fans/watchers will attain so their home leaves a lot of  large families wishing that they had their setup and discontent.  I think the Duggar's handle a tremendous burden of being so open and camera-ready with their lives.  So when people say, "have you watched the Duggar's?", well my honest answer is yes, but I admire my grandparents and the Amish.

Let your conversation be without covetousness;
and be content with such things as ye have:
for he hath said, I will never leave thee,
nor forsake thee. ~~Hebrews 13:5


  1. We also do not have cable, which I will say is easier living in Des Moines with the stations closer. We get 17 channels just with an antenna! When we moved to Sheldon and debated about getting cable, our oldest Joshua told us the cost of it would be the same as sponsering a compassion child. And then the winter after he had gone on a mission trip to an orphanage in Russia, we asked him what he wanted for Chrismas. He told us he didn't need anything, he had so much already. We should all have such insight! Doris Henry

  2. "I'm more interested in how they manage their home, than how an upper-middle class, custom-built home owner with a reality show is managing their home."

    This is exactly why I read Mega Family Blogs :o) we are tv free, no tv at all so we only watch the you tube clips on line in occasion.

    We have often modified our family closet. We generally keep outfits in a shared location, but clothing is a personal belonging, at least until passed down.