What We Can Learn from the Duggar Family Today

Danger!

My wife and I used to enjoy sitting down each week to watch the Duggar Family on their TLC show, 19 Kids and Counting.  Being a Christian family, we were thrilled to see that a good, wholesome, decent family with good morals was finally being portrayed on television.  It was so refreshing.  We watched the kids grow up like many of you did on television.

I was heartbroken to find out about the molestation charges on Josh Duggar, the oldest of the children.  The family did, in fact, admit that they had gone through a tough time, and that Josh had indeed molested several children.  There were many opinions, many thoughts, and many disagreements had by many people about the situation.

His wife forgave him.  She knew about it going into the marriage.  The family stood firm on how they handled it.  Would I have done things differently if it were my son?  Honestly – I don’t know how I would handle it.  But I can’t put myself in their shoes.  What a horrible thing to go through.

The Duggar family lost their show over a mistake their son made.  Pressure mounted on TLC to drop the show completely, and they did.

Fast forward to today.

A few days ago, hackers claimed they had hacked the Ashley Madison website.  This is an online site for people looking to have affairs (atrocious as it may sound) in a private, discreet way.  The hackers didn’t get what they wanted from the site, so they released information that is bound to destroy many, many families.

Last night, I saw that Josh Duggar’s name had popped up in the list.  All I could think of was “My goodness, someone logged in under Josh’s name so that he might one day get in trouble and they could smear the Duggar name.”  Then, I saw that the name was attached to Josh’s credit card, and his addresses in a previous and current home.

Even today, as I saw an article about it – I didn’t want to believe it.

But then, he admitted this afternoon that he had indeed been unfaithful to his wife, and was addicted to pornography.  Molestation charges, and now this.

A great family, one that has strong core beliefs, taken down again because of the mistakes of this young man.

So what are my thoughts?  I have several on this tragedy that is unfolding before our eyes.  Here are just a few:

  1. The internet is a wonderful tool, but when used the wrong way can destroy lives.  Sadly, the Duggar family is now a victim of the misuse of the internet.  There are so many sites out there in cyberspace that want nothing more than to prey on you.  They want to lure you in – to hack your computer, to steal your information, to steal your bank account, to get you involved in an inappropriate relationship.  While it’s great to be able to shop online, it’s far too easy to shop for the wrong thing.

  2. The internet is not safe.  You MUST take precautions to keep your family safe from the web.  Many people think an antivirus program is all they need.  However, filters need to be used, as well as communicating with your family about what’s out there in the internet world.   I was showing my wife the other night a music video to a popular song by a popular artist in which there are two versions – a rated and unrated version.  Any child can type in the name of this song, click on the unrated version, and see two popular music artists ogling topless women parading around.  It’s just that easy.  If you trust your children, that’s not enough – because a lot of time innocent searching can lead to terrible things.

  3. Don’t be absorbed.  The internet, your laptops, your smartphones, your tablets – can suck you in and not let go.  Click on this, go here, search here, and before you know it you’ve spent 3-4 hours on Facebook.  You see a link to a place that links to this place or that place – and you wind up seeing an advertisement for love, for intimacy, for something you’re searching for.  Get off your phones, give your thumb a break from scrolling through Facebook, and have a relationship with your family and friends, not a piece of technology.  I know people who spend more time on Facebook than they do anything else during the day.  Perhaps it is time to take a Facebook/Internet sabbatical if it’s absorbing all of your time.

  4. Communicate.  Sites like Ashley Madison, along with many other sites – prey on those who are seeking something they are not getting in their own relationships.  It might be something simple like conversation, or it could involve sexual intimacy.  If you are not getting something you are wanting out of your marriage – COMMUNICATE!  If sex isn’t occurring as frequent as you’d like – COMMUNICATE!  If you’re uncomfortable with something in the bedroom – COMMUNICATE!  You can not over-communicate in your marriage. Many extra-marital affairs occur because a husband or a wife is not providing something in the relationship.  Instead of thinking you can only get that something somewhere else – COMMUNICATE!

  5. It’s easy to judge from afar – but don’t.  I have tried my best in this post to steer clear of judging the Duggar family, but instead tried to look at what caused the most recent problem in the first place.  Sin is real, the struggle of pornography is real, the desire to run around and have fun is real for so many people.  I would dare say that most of us would not want our dirty laundry popping up on what’s trending on Twitter.  Instead of judging them, or anyone else – pray for them.  Pray that your family will avoid these kinds of situations.  Pray that you can be a light in a dark world.  Pray that Satan’s dart won’t pierce us all.

 

Bottom line – there is now a very broken family, a young man who will pay for his mistakes, a wife who is very much so heartbroken and shell-shocked, 4 young children who will always know the mistake their father made, a mother and father who are now wondering where they went wrong – ALL because of this mistake.

Temptation is one of the strongest things in the world.  May God give us all the power to look it eye to eye and say no.

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The One Where I Say Its Okay To Send Your Child To School

SchoolHouse

EDIT:  Due to my inability to think through things and my lack of not properly proofreading and editing – I need to add a disclaimer – my church is a wonderful church, and pays me more than well enough to do all we need to do and more.  Some of you may misunderstand my purpose behind this post, so let me make it perfectly clear – this is a post that is trying to let you know its  okay to send your child to public school.  I know many who struggle with this decision, and its a hard one.

My parents sacrificed A LOT to send all three of us (my brother and sister) to a Christian school.  I’m better for it.  I hope in the future we will be able to send our child to a Christian school.  But for those of you who struggle with sending your child to a public school – I want you to know from this post – that its okay.

I have rewritten this post to emphasize my point  – which is, we should take every opportunity to share the message of Christ with people we come in contact with.  99% of the comments I have received on this post have been very, very positive.

I just did not want this post to reflect poorly on my wonderful church family or elders – who take care of us beyond imagination.  After re-reading this post, I felt like it might be best to say that, and to edit it.  Note to self … ALWAYS EDIT and PROOF!

Begin post:

On Thursday, August 1, 2013 my 5 year old daughter will start Kindergarten.

I don’t know if you all realize how big of a deal this is – Kindergarten!  It seems like she just learned how to say her first word, use the potty, sleep in a big girl bed, eat with a fork, and all the other simple things you learn in the first few years of life.

She’ll be dropped off on Thursday morning for a half day here in Davidson County, and I know when my wife drops her off, she’ll be bawling for the next few hours.  She is, after all, our little girl.  She’s the only one we have.  She means the world to us.

But I have to stop and tell you something.  I’m not scared at all.  We’ve done what we can in these first five years to prepare her for this moment.  And now, its time for her to grow some more.  The hardest time I’m going to have over the next few weeks/months/years is reading about whether or not we should have put her in public schools.

You have to understand, we are a blended family.  Not only am I an Alabama fan and my father in law is an Auburn Alumnus, but I grew up in Christian education, and my wife didn’t have that until she went to college.  From Kindergarten till the day I walked across the stage at Friendship Christian School in May of 1996, I went to the same Christian School, followed immediately by 5 years at a Christian college.

When we moved to Nashville, people told us that Davidson County schools were awful.  We were told to live in Williamson County, but it is getting further away from our church family, and we don’t want that.

So we’re happily sending our child to the public school near our home.  (For security’s sake, I will not disclose what school our child will be attending.)

I simply don’t know what to expect.

Now,I am going to have people reading on Facebook, Twitter, news channels, family events, and other various venues, telling me I should have homeschooled my child.

Understand this – I have nothing against those of you who have chosen to do this.  If you have the knowledge, the means, and the ability to do this, more power to you.  But I believe there is a reason why there’s an old saying that goes “It takes a village….”  I have minister friends, church friends, and family that homeschool.  I respect them beyond imagination.  But homeschooling is not right for us.

My wife is the product of public schools, and I think she did just fine – going to college on an athletic scholarship and graduating with a nearly perfect GPA.  In fact, she finished a lot better GPA than me, the product of the Christian School.

I’m not scared to send my child to school.  She knows God, she knows what is right, she knows how to be a good influence, and she knows that there are people out there who don’t believe in God – and she’s prayed for them.  No, I’m not saying she’s a little missionary, but she has a heart for God that I didn’t have when I was 5.  She will have a chance to influence the boys and girls in her school for God.

On top of that,  we live out of the area where many of our church family goes to school.   We will be in a school where we know absolutely no one.

We’ll be going to parent meetings, teacher meetings, and school events in a place where there will be a great opportunity to share the love of Christ through our love and actions.  Sure, it would be easier to send my child somewhere where I knew the people, and felt more comfortable, but that would take away a great ministry opportunity God has put before me.

I’m not certain why some people are so afraid of sending their children to  school.  We can’t keep them in a bubble forever.  The world is changing, and I want my child to know what she’s up against.

Many of you who are hardcore homeschool advocates won’t understand this.  I have family members who homeschool that won’t understand this.  Is there a potential for her little mind to be scarred by things she wouldn’t see if she stayed at home everyday?  Sure.  But she’s going to experience the world one day, and I would much rather be in control of it now at the age of 5 when she heads off to college at 18.

On top of these things – know this:  I know that God is with her.  I believe in prayer.  I will pray for her daily.  My wife will pray for her daily.  With confidence, we will be able to send her off to school to learn, play, and become assimilated with society – and we will still be in control of her every step of the way.  If the school teaches something we disagree with, that’s fine.  Because we’ll still be teaching her at home, and still be teaching her at church.

So many who homeschool say the problem is that they have no control over what they are taught.  I don’t plan on just turning my child over to the system and then check back in with her every May at the end of the school year.  We will go over things.  We’ll discuss things.  We’ll take time to teach alternative things to evolution and liberal government.

I’m not scared.  I’m proud.  I’m proud of who my little girl has grown up to be in these short 5 years.  I know God will take care of her.  May God bless all our children as they start school over the next few weeks.

One Day – Her Prince Will Come


This past Saturday, I attended a wedding of a young couple in our congregation. Seeing as I am a full time minister myself, it was delightful to be able to sit and enjoy the service instead of being involved.

My wife Kristen and I had talked about the wedding to our almost 4 year old, Josie. We told her we were going to a wedding and that she was going to see lots of girls in pretty dresses, and the one wearing the prettiest dress will be the bride. Josie was filled with excitement to be able to witness this event!

As the wedding processional began, Josie asked if she could sit in my lap so she could see everything as it was happening. She watched as the guys entered from behind the stage and took their places, and then as the bridesmaids came down one by one. She sat there saying “Oooh, look at the pretty dresses” and “I would look good in that dress” along with other things.

When the bride walked in, and as we all stood, Josie didn’t say anything. She just sat in my arms with her little mouth wide open, as if she was thinking “Wow, that is the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen!”

As the service began, Josie sat down on the church pew and began playing with some toys she had brought with her. I listened as it began with the familiar words “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?”, and immediately, I choked up.

You see, at that moment, I realized one day, my little girl’s prince will come.

One day, my little girl will no longer be my little girl, but my grown up woman who will leave the comforts of her father and mother and bond with someone else, to take care of her. And I’m not so sure I like that idea.

She’s my little girl.

It gives me a great appreciation for my Father-in-law, who had to learn to accept me before handing over his little princess to me to marry her. He had invested over 20 years in teaching her, paying for her to grow up, taking careful steps in what he said around her, watched how he acted around her, all for this nut to swoop in and take her away from him.

And one day, that’s going to happen to my little girl as well. That’s all a bit overwhelming to me. To the point, I’m tearing up as I’m writing this.

Okay, so Josie is only 4 years old. She’s not getting married anytime soon. But if I’m not careful – I’ll blink and the time we have together will be gone. So here are some promises I’m making to myself in order to best prepare my little girl to choose the right guy for her in the future.

1. I will pray for her, continuously, over and over again.
2. I will demonstrate the Father’s love to her, as God has done for me over and over again.
3. I will love her more than my job, my car, my friends, and all other things.
4. I will demonstrate to her how to love her future spouse, by continuously showing her how much I love her mother.
5. I will discipline her.
6. I will protect her.
7. I will let her fail, only so she can learn how to recover.
8. I will show her the importance of God in my life, and how all I have in life is because of Him.
9. I will provide for her.
10. I will tell her no.
11. I will make sure she knows how to respect herself.
12. I will, when the time is right, let her go.

Sure there are other things – too many to list right here.

Josie, you will always be my daughter, my love, my joy, my happiness. God has given you to me, and I will always cherish you. As you grow older, may God continuously give you wisdom, courage, and strength to do the right things.

And as you grow older, may God be preparing that prince for you. May he be a child of God, a devoted Christian, who will attempt with all of his being to love you more than I do. May I be able to let you go when the time is right.

One day, your prince will come.

The Joy of Giving (In other words – we’re doing something right!!)

Being a parent is really tough at times. Our child has gotten to terrible 3s. (The 2s weren’t so bad…but the 3s…let me just tell ya!)

She has reached an age where her vocabulary is full enough to talk back to us on purpose. She has become adventurous, louder, and extremely OCD about how everything should be lined up. Her imagination is on full blast, and she gets caught up into these imaginary worlds and often times forgets to come back to earth. She has darted away from us a few times in public, scaring us silly.

Sometimes, I feel like we’re going a stellar job raising her. Most of the time, I feel like a colossal failure. I see other kids sitting still in class, and ours decides that since a crayon is on the floor under the table, rather than tell the teacher, or wait till later, she hops up and pushes the girl next to her out of her chair so she can climb under and retrieve the crayon (remember, OCD, it has to be picked up now and put in its proper place).

I know, I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. She is only 3. But that doesn’t mean she should chuck her tennis shoes down the stairs at someone’s head after class time at Life group does it? Or if she falls down the wooden stairs because she’s jumping on them in sock feet, she should learn her lesson and not do it again immediately after we wipe the tears away, right?

Enter Valentine’s day. We woke up and had heart shaped sweet rolls, and gave Josie a Veggie Tales movie about God’s love. She had a good day at Mother’s Day Out at Crieve Hall. I got home, and we sat down for dinner. We went through the mail, and Josie had a card from my parents, her grandmommy and granddaddy.

She opened up the card, and out fell a crisp $5 bill from them for Valentine’s Day. Immediately, all on her own, Josie said “Oh daddy, look, I can give this like the lady did at church!”. I wasn’t exactly sure what she was talking about at first, so we asked a few clarification questions.

Come to find out, she wanted to give all she had like the widow had done when she gave her two pennies to God. She wanted to give the $5.00 grandmmommy and granddaddy had sent her to God.

All of a sudden, the running from us, the random screaming, the hard times in parenting, the lack of sense in some of her decisions…didn’t matter.

I realized that she is listening, and paying attention. She isn’t just a bundle of energy ready to explode. She IS paying attention to her Sunday School lessons and Wednesday night lessons. She IS paying attention to what mommy and daddy are teaching her at home.

Never stop teaching your children what is right. Train them up in the way of the Lord, and they will not depart from it!