Writing Tips by Gary Speer

Tips for writers, musing about writing and life

Amazing story of family of 19 — not really related to writing, just found it amazing

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I’m sure you’ve heard of this truly amazing family in Arkansas with 17 kids, haven’t you? In fact, they were on the “Today Show” yesterday (Friday) with the revelation that child number 18 is expected on New Year’s Day. (Part of the humor in the announcement included Mother’s Day presents from the kids. Several of the daughters had gotten together and bought mom some clothes, explaining on camera that she was generally pregnant so much that she her wardrobe was almost entirely maternity clothes!)

The story of this family, the Duggar family of Tontitown, Arkansas, has been in the press a lot in the last few years. The dad, “Jim Bob” Duggar, apparently was a state legislator briefly and ran for other state offices in Arkansas. This whole thing has little or nothing to do with writing and writers, but I found it the sort of thing a good writer might and should take advantage of and dig into the Duggar family’s story. Perhaps there are books which have been done on them already and I’m just ignorant about them? I know they have a DiscoveryHealth Channel website.

Of course, the two most fundamental questions that come immediately to my mind are: 1) why all the kids, and, 2) how can they afford such a large family. A little research gave the easy answers to the question.

1. They are conservative Christians who are linked to something called the “Quiverfull” movement — the idea that children are gifts from the Lord and that ALL sorts of contraceptives and family planning methods, whether “natural” or otherwise, are to be avoided. If a woman gets pregnant it’s because she is trusting God to take care of that and he wants her pregnant, would pretty well sum up that approach, I guess.

2. Dad Duggar is a real estate agent and they own some commercial properties. They also credit a financial planning seminar they attended early in their marriage with helping them live completely debt free.

Amazing story, isn’t it? Perhaps it gives you some new ideas for your writing, perhaps not. But you’ve got to admit it’s fascinating. I encourage you to Google “Duggar family” and read more about them. (And I’ll try very, very hard not to vent my feelings here about their religious beliefs and things like “cults,” or “craziness.” I’ll try, really I will.)
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2 Responses to “Amazing story of family of 19 — not really related to writing, just found it amazing”

  1. Clara says:

    You’re showing great restraint 🙂 If everyone aspired to the ‘Quiverfull’ philosophy we’d soon run out of air and water.

  2. Gary says:

    It really is HARD for me to restrain myself on several levels about this story. I refuse to “judge” these good people on their moral-ethical-religious stand. But, having personally come from a restrictive, “fundamentalist” form of Christianity and now being what I consider more “mainstream,” much of the religion and theology behind this story distresses me. (Hint: Google “Bill Gothard” and read what wikipedia and some other sources tell you.)

    My wife and I discussed this and also wondered, given the millions of dying, orphaned children out there worldwide, why would any family have 17/18 kids biologically instead of perhaps rescuing some via adoption?

    Arrgh! I really better stop without getting any further into all this.

    Happy Mothers’ Day, everyone.

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