I just finished reading Michelle & Jim Bob Duggar's The Duggars: 20 and Counting!
Let me say that I loved this book! And not just me. I loaned it to Rana after I read it and she loved it as well. Amanda gave it to me. And she loved it.
If you are not familiar with the Duggars, they are a family with 19 children (18 when they wrote the book.) They are strong Christians. And they have a show on TLC. A lot of people that live here aren't familiar with them because we are all so out-of-touch with TV here on Incirlik. But I remember seeing bits of their show before we moved here.
While I don't necessarily subscribe to the Duggars philosophy of children (have as many as God gives you), what I can say is that this is a family living debt free and raising fantastic children. They must know something. So I read it with that in mind. I might not agree with the dress code their children adhere to or the limitless children philosophy, but I can definitely take her advice when it comes to how to cook dinner!
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
"As the parents of all these children, we've gotten over any perfectionist tendencies we might once have had. Our relationship with our children is more important to us than a clean van or a strict schedule. The goal is to have fun and enjoy being together, and to go with the flow, no matter what happens." -- Duggar parents
"...we are grateful to God for each one of them. They are a gift and a joy." -- Duggar parents
The Duggars spend about $3,000 each month on groceries, diapers, and miscellaneous items such as shampoo and detergent. During a typical week the family does 40 loads of laundry and goes through 16 boxes of cereal, 6 gallons of milk, and 16 rolls of toilet tissue.
"... show me your friends, and I'll show you your future." -- Jim Bob's mom to him when he was a little boy.
"You never know when a kind deed you for for someone will make a big difference in that person's life. It might seem like a small thing to you -- like giving someone a free haircut -- but it could be something big for the other person. Every talent God gives us, we use to honor him." -- Jim Bob Duggar after a neighbor gave him renewed confidence with a good hair cut.
"In the seminar, we teenagers were encouraged to make two important commitments: first, that we wouldn't date anyone who wasn't a Christian, and second, that we wouldn't date anyone who didn't love Jesus as much as we did." -- Jim Bob Duggar referring to a junior high lesson he had learned.
"...we should owe no one anything but love." -- Jim Bob Duggar referring to their debt-free lifestyle.
The Duggar Motto: Buy used, Save the Difference -- But be careful!
"And we realized that TV would stifle creativity and devour the most precious resource we have: time." -- Jim Bob Duggar in response to the question of why they do not have TV in their house.
"The speaker said that if someone had wronged you, it is important to forgive that person in your heart even before he or she asks for forgiveness. And then one way to overcome the bitterness you automatically feel is to do something nice for him or her. I decided to give this new idea a try." -- Jim Bob after he was robbed at gun point and he decided to bring a Bible to the criminal.
"I tell our children over and over 'You can gain all kinds of training, but no matter what skills and talents you possess, if you do these two things you'll be successful: first, love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and second, love your neighbor as yourself.' If our children learn those two things while they're under my tutelage, then I've been successful. And they will be too." -- Michelle Duggar about teaching her children through homeschooling.
"Through all our years of parenting and homeschooling, we've learned a lot. But please keep in mind that we never claim to be parenting experts. We want to share what we've learned through trial and error. For instance, we've learned (sometimes the hard way) that consistency is one of the most important tools of correction. It makes life much easier when our children know we will be consistent in enforcing the rules, especially the first and most important rule: to obey Mommy and Daddy. Sure, there are warnings first. But if the disobedience continues, there will be consequences." -- Duggar parents
"We take very seriously our job of preparing our children to become responsible adults. We love them unconditionally, just as God loves us, and we want what's best for them. We want them to learn to make wise choices, and one of the most powerful ways to do that is to let them experience unpleasant consequences when their choices aren't wise ones. That lesson begins with choosing to obey Mommy and Daddy. We don't just lay down a stern do-what-I-say-or-else rule. We teach them why obedience is so crucial. I tell them, 'As I teach you to obey my voice, I'm also teaching you to learn to obey God's voice. Someday, you will learn to hear His still, small voice in your heart, and you know to obey Him. You'll know what's the right thing to do.'" -- Michelle Duggar on obedience
"... I don't start potty training until the child is able to take his or her pants off and put them back on without my help. (I'm not a perfectionist. If they get them on backward, that's okay; at least they got them on!) The other requirement is that they have to be able to climb up on the 'big potty' by themselves.' I never liked the separate little potty chairs. They just added one more thing that had to be cleaned in the bathroom..." -- Michelle Duggar in changing how early she started potty training.
The Duggars have some emotional and behavior goals they have set for their children and for themselves:
- Always use soft words, even when you don't feel well.
- Always display kind actions, even if you have been mistreated.
- Show joyful attitudes even when no one is looking.
- Have sincere motive with no thought of self-gain.
- Think pure thoughts.
- Always give a good report of others. (Never tale-bear unless physical harm will come to someone -- Matt 18).
- Never raise a hand to hit, a foot to kick, an object to throw, a voice to yell or an eye to scowl.
- Use one toy/activity at a time.
- Never let the sun go down on your wrath.
- J.O.Y. (Put Jesus first, others second, yourself last.)
"We strive to praise their good character qualities ten times more than we correct them. That means overlooking some of their shortcomings and complimenting every little positive thing we see ... we praise them when they demonstrate diligence, thoroughness, punctuality, patience, compassion, orderliness, generosity, and other Christlike character qualities ... we watch for opportunities to praise them in front of others."
"We teacher them that any kind of vocation is a way to minister to others. We hope each of our children can spend a few days shadowing someone who's working in the field he or she is interested in pursuing in order to find out if it's as appealing as expected. We will encourage them to do that before going to college for four yeras, then deciding that they don't like the job they've trained for." -- Jim Bob Duggar on preparing for adult life
The Duggar parents allow their children to put their hand on their arm and gently say, "Daddy, I think you're getting angry," to help keep their personal anger in check. They encouraged the parents to lower their voice instead of raising it when they feel anger welling up.
"Our goal is to have them understand four different points of obedience:
- Instant (if it doesn't happen instantly, it's not obedience)
- Cheerful ("Yes ma'am. I'd be happy to.")
- Thorough (We make sure they're looking us in the eye when we make a request. Then we wait to hear "Yes ma'am" or "Yes sir" in response.)
- Unconditional (without argument)
The Duggars use a "Yes Ma'am Chart." This is similar to what I referred to in this post which discusses how I used this in my home. They put a mark on a chart and then get pennies for each mark. I skipped that and went straight for the penny to the bank.
"You will never regret spending too much time together as a family," -- Jim Bob Duggar
They keep all of the families clothes in a family closet in the laundry room. This cuts down on steps as you don't have to move the clothes from the laundry room back to the bedrooms and then back to the laundry room.
Resources they suggest in the book
- Bill Gothard's Operational Definitions of Character Qualities
- Steve & Teri Maxwell's Managers of Their Homes and Managers of Their Chores
- Emilie Barnes' Survival Book for Busy Women
- Sing, Spell, Read, and Write (Phonics homeschool program)
- Engelmann, Haddox and Bruner's Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (homeschool materials)
- ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) is their homeschool program of choice as is Alpha Omega's Switched-On Schoolhouse (SOS)