I recently posted on Facebook that I was reading the Duggar daughters' book, "Growing Up Duggar". The world views this family as very abnormal. 19 children. No TV. All home-schooled. The latest subject of their extreme views of parenting is in the area of courtship vs dating. Despite society's ongoing discussion of their family choices, they remain steadfast in their parenting and beliefs. I understand that even though they have a reality television program, they do not watch television. Technology is very much a part of their lives. Computers are necessary in their education with so many children. They live with modern conveniences like most people, but not "extreme". They choose what is necessary and helpful and in alignment with their parenting choices. Isn't it ironic? People call them "extreme", yet they live a fairly normal life, making choices in agreement with the commitment they made as parents.
I often wish I could turn back the clock and make some different choices. I mourn over time wasted. I am sure my own daughters would cringe at what they think would be "limitations" placed on them were I to radically move toward some of these practices. "Pulling the plug" and cleaning out their drawers and closets would surely win me "Mother of the Year" and they would "call me blessed". ha Still, I think baby steps could make a difference. Then I panic and think I don't have time for baby steps!! Time is running out!! That is exactly where Satan wants me. He wants me to live in a state of panic and fear. Carpe diem! Sure, I'll seize the present moment and day, but I don't want to think little of the future. There must be a balance.
I look around me at people who are chasing their children all over. They have them involved in so many things that consume every waking moment of everyone's lives. We all invest somewhere. My husband and I have been talking a lot lately about what we are investing in our girls and where we seem to be placing the most emphasis. I remember the old saying, "Where are you writing your checks? That will tell you what's important to you." Checks could represent money or time. Where am I writing the checks of time in our family? What would my girls say is most important? I believe in asking them their opinions and finding out their dreams and desires, but hear me when I say I do not believe they are old enough to write the checks. If you place a cookie and a piece of celery in front of your small child you know what will happen. If you show them a picture with vibrant color and sparkles and one in black and white, unless they are color blind they will instantly move toward the one with sparkles. Why wouldn't they? We as adults are guilty of the same thing. We give our children too many choices. We also assume that because it's the latest and greatest thing on the street, then we'd better get on the train or we will be left at the station and our kids won't get into college. Why? Because "someone" or "they" said so.
What do I want for my girls? Am I planning where they will go to school? Nah. I've seen too many spend hours and hours planning this. There is a school for my girls if that's what God has planned for them. There is just the right place. It may not have a shiny sticker (colored jersey) recognizable to everyone within 100 yards of it, but a phase of their life will be lived where God has already cultivated the soil, preparing it for them. Yes, I will plan. Yes, I will encourage and help them make decisions as they move toward this phase of life. But I pray that God will free our family from the chase. God already has this. He already has a purpose and a plan. The tyranny of the urgent is not necessarily the right and good thing. I want to reclaim my time.
'We sense uneasily our failure to do what was really important. The winds of other people's demands, and our own inner compulsions have driven us onto a reef of frustration. We realize that quite apart from our sins, we have done those things which we ought not to have done, and we have left undone those things which we ought to have done." (Charles E. Hummel, Freedom from Tyranny of the Urgent)
What do I admire about the Duggars? A lot. I think what I admire most, is the fact that they believe that investing in the hearts of their children surpasses everything else they could put their money and time into. Their children are thriving where GOD wants them to thrive. They are not easily entangled in the web of keeping up with everyone else. They are also human. They make mistakes just like everyone else. I do not hold them on a pedestal, but rather admire them for being true to what God has called them to.
Jesus was extreme. He was certainly not average and lost in the moving crowd. He wasn't found in the places one would expect him to be. People chased Him. Who and what am I chasing? What am I modeling to my children? When they look back on our home and our life what will they remember most?
I know what I want their answer to be.