Over at Big Journalism, Charlie Richards, creator of the Christian video series, Life at the Pond, writes an insightful post on his experience meeting the 19 Duggar kids, particularly the 3 oldest girls:

In prepping a children’s program where I’d be recording all the Duggars from TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting, I read a lot about this family on the Internet.

Boy was that unhelpful.

I wanted to make sure I got their characters right while scripting the dialogue for an episode of Life at the Pond….

But there was one common theme… The Duggar children are captives in their own home….

[Dad] Jim Bob [Duggar] was kind enough to invite my entire family into his home.  We ended up spending parts of 3 days there, and I can tell you first hand, this is no ordinary family.

You won’t find a television in their giant living room.  The Internet is greatly restricted. The girls’ room (9 of 10 sleep in 1 room – the only exception is temporary, newborn Josie) didn’t have Hanna Montana or boy band or vampire posters or anything like it.

Lady Gaga did not make the cut.

The most prevalent thing on the walls of the Duggar house are family pictures and scripture. So, yes, you could say quite accurately popular culture was shielded by the walls literally built by the Duggar family.

Funny thing is, people tend to assume a child not immersed in popular culture is a child missing from reality.  In some cases, that is true. Not the Duggars.

photo of duggar kids

My wife and I spent considerable time talking to the 3 teenage girls, Jill, Jessa and Jinger.  They are sharp, fun and informed.  They know what’s going on out there.  But it isn’t at all a part of their every day life. And, to the shock and dismay of so many, they’re okay with that.

While, admittedly, I admire the Duggars for much of what they do, I didn’t expect what I saw in these 3 girls.  The world has yet to beat them into submission.  They don’t watch the Disney Channel, so they’ve yet to learn that adults are buffoons and parents are embarrassing.  They don’t listen to the local rock station, so they’ve yet do discover life is supposed to be one promiscuous event followed by another.  They don’t attend public school, so they’ve yet to learn teenage girls are required to be filled with angst and riddled with insecurities.

As we spoke to the 3 of them, one word kept jumping out at me:  Freedom.  These girls were experiencing freedom teenagers rarely taste.  Completely free to be themselves.  The exact opposite of the words so often used by media folk to describe the 19 kids.

While many times teenagers can’t wait to get away from adults, these 3 were anxious to engage in conversation.  And they were delightful. All of the Duggars were.

And here’s another thing that springs from the Duggar house throughout the day:  Humor.  The TLC show captures some of that, but I was surprised by the amount of laughter and joking in that home.

Again, it goes back to freedom.  While the left reflexively assumes it’s a world of “don’t do that” leading to a house of misery, reality is quite the opposite.

As the Duggar family proves.

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