The Duggars are expecting another child.
For most families, that is exciting news, welcome news, joyous news. But beyond close friends and family, that news draws a mild response at most - hopefully of the "Oh, good." variety. The Duggars are not most families though. Jim Bob and Michelle have nineteen children, so decent math skills will tell you that this little one is the twentieth branch on their family tree.
The reaction this revelation elicits from some quarters is very negative: outrage, repugnance, mockery. There are comments about Michelle spontaneously popping out a baby every time she sneezes, or Jim Bob not knowing how babies are made. People are snide and cruel - not to mention insulting and invasive with their comments and questions.
If you know anything at all about the Duggar family, if you've seen them on Good Morning America, or caught an episode of their TLC program, you know they are good people. They are responsible and civic-minded. Their children are well-spoken, courteous, curious, and competent - that answers the often aired supposition that having so many children must mean the kids run wild, lack personal attention, are ill-adjusted, and will place too great a burden on the community. In fact, the family is debt free - a house, utility payments, groceries, clothing, a collection of vehicles (including several vans/SUVs, a full-sized touring coach, a smaller bus, and sundry pieces of maintenance equipment) - all free and clear. Far from being a drain on society, they give back in service. The children have been taught practical skills, enabling them to fend for themselves, help others, and, in the case of the oldest boys, provide for themselves financially.
Their beliefs (funadmentalist conservative Christian) may not jive with your own, and their lifestyle of frugality and modesty may not appeal to you, but seeing them in action would dispel any ideas you had that they were simple-minded hicks. There is no doubt of their sincerity and their desire to love God, serve Him, and do good. They love their children without measure, counting each of them a blessing. At the start of their marriage, they were using a birth control pill which resulted in a lost baby; from then on they determined to accept as many children as they were given, and are sad to think that their fertile years are coming to an end. They do not preach having as many children as possible, knowing each family is unique. They do however, encourage couples to be open to the gift, and are grateful that their circumstances make their family possible.
Not only are Michelle and Jim Bob delighted with each new pregnancy, but the children themselves are excited at the prospect of a new brother or sister. Mom and Dad teach them to respect and love their siblings - an aspect of parenting that some typical families overlook, thinking it natural for brothers and sisters to resent each other. The older siblings help to look after a younger buddy, and each one has an assigned chore, which not only helps with the upkeep of the home, but teaches them skills, responsibility, and discipline. And when they're not working together, they're playing together as typical, active children.
Some of you readers have experienced shock and awe from people when they see your large families of four or five children. You can just imagine what the Duggars endure when all 21 of them are out and about (24 when oldest son Josh and his wife and two children join them). They always respond with patience and grace, turning derision into praises to God for the many blessings they've received - that's the Duggar way..
We could all stand to be a little Duggared.