In the world that brought us a reality show-cum-marriage destroying show of Jon & Kate Plus 8, last night I found comfort in Michelle Duggar.
I have some "Duggar issues" but Michelle has always been my favorite and earned a special place in my heart. Sweet, genuine and devoted are words that come to mind. And it helps that she's the one without a "J." She has truly taken to heart the idea of "judge not, lest though be judged" as witnessed by her refusals to denigrate octo-mom or Kate Gosselin and I can tell by her countenance when she speaks of them she is praying for all in the families involved. Soft-spoken, but firm and loving...what a mother should be regardless of family size and what I strive for.
What warmed my heart last night was Michelle and her family visiting a local public school. They were sharing their love of reading and authors with the students. Michelle shook the hand of each student ambassador and thanked them for inviting her family to the school. There was one awkward moment when the students, at their morning assembly, danced which the Baptist Duggars do not do. When asked about this, Michelle responded that it got the children moving and helped them to focus and concentrate and it was a strategy just like some she used to help her children. She didn't say anything pro-or anti dancing. It was what it was. When she described the children, she used the word, obedient which I liked as it was a mother's word, not an educator's (such as compliant) and indicated a motherly nature toward this large group of children. But what really set my heart right was when she described why their family homeschooled but then added she was not anti-public school and felt there was a well-warranted need for public education and some wonderful things happening because of it and wonderful teachers working with children. Wow, here was the woman many hold up as the home-school icon saying basically, "Do what works for your family." Jim-Bob corroborated this idea by discussing that some of his daughters wanted to become mid-wives and would need further education which he supported and that he had to trust that they had given these girls a solid foundation so that when faced with secular trials, they were ready.
What Michelle did in this episode was to empower parents with the knowledge, that as long as they were doing the best they could by their children, and that the best would be defined differently by each family, it was enough. And that at some point, you have to send your children off into the world and know what you taught them was right and let them stand on their own feet. She illustrated this by telling how when Josh and Anna was married it was "leave and cleave" and that together, Josh and Anna had to make their own way with the foundation that was laid by their families.
It warmed my heart to see someone of such high profile and strong moral conviction speak with common-sense.