Last night while channel surfing, I happened upon TLC; the learning channel. I am an occasional watcher of Jon and Kate plus Eight, (a lighthearted look at a family raising twins and sextuplets) and have an odd fascination with large and unique families. I was in luck, because I unexpectedly stumbled upon the Duggar Family.
OMG! Within minutes I was hooked. The Duggars are a family of 19: Mom, Dad and seventeen children (with number 18 on the way). In case you hadn’t guessed it; they don’t believe in birth control. The family is very clearly Christian/conservative when it comes to most everything, and thus they live their lives as such. Last nights episode followed oldest son Josh (20) as he proposed to Anna.
The Duggars seem like lovely people, they are endearing and fun to watch, but who knew people still lived this way! Josh flew out to Florida to propose to a girl he had met two years prior at a home schooling conference. There had not been much of a ‘relationship’ since then (other than some contact between the families) but Josh felt “the lord was guiding him to choose Anna.” Anna accepted his proposal and the two celebrated with a hug. All throughout the episode, various members of the Duggar family guided the viewers through the appropriate “courtship” rituals.
* Josh and Anna could hold hands, but nothing more
* They could not kiss until their wedding day
* They could not be alone together and had to have a chaperone with them wherever they went
I know right!? Who knew this kind of innocence still existed? I cannot imagine not kissing or being left alone with my future husband until after we were married. Not to mention deciding to marry someone I barely knew. It was so odd to watch. I felt like this family was from another era. Josh and Anna were cute and cuddly, but I couldn’t help but think they appeared to be playing “house.” When Josh took her to the car lot he works at and remarked “this will be our life,” I didn’t know weather to laugh or cry. It’s such a simple existence; dominated by puritan values.
I do not look down on the Duggar’s religious ideology. It’s just so foreign to me. I wonder how many people in this country grow up this way, entering into marriage without the slightest idea of what love is. I am sure Josh and Anna will be very happy: they come from similar backgrounds and have identical values. In today’s world that can be half the battle. It’s just that they seemed to young, so innocent, so ill prepared for the adult world.
As the show came to an end, I found myself so engrossed in the daily rituals of the Duggar family that I immediately began to look forward to the next episode. The Duggar’s are so much fun to watch, because they’re so weird. Surprisingly, it is not their large family that astounds me but rather the way in which they live their lives. Even the people who come into contact with them onscreen seem shocked by their interpretation of the world around them. I feel for the Duggar’s. I am sure their show will be successful, but unlike Jon and Kate plus Eight I doubt viewers will be able to empathize or see themselves in the family. Instead, the Duggar’s are perceived much like animals in a zoo: odd, exotic and fun to oggle. On some level, that’s a little sad.