I will admit right now, that I am a fan of the Duggars. I have seen all the episodes in recent years, and many in past seasons as well. My teenage daughters are also big fans of the Duggars and have read the ‘Growing up Duggar’ book by the Duggar girls. The show has given us lots of discussion points in our household, and even though I don’t necessarily agree with everything they do, I tend to think the best of people so here’s my theory.
My theory is that the Duggars have allowed the cameras inside their home, and put their family on display, NOT in an attempt to portray a perfect Christian family – in fact Michelle Duggar says it OFTEN on the show, we are NOT a perfect family – but to put forth an example of how to protect your family from sexual impurity, without explicitly saying what had happened within their family.
To me, all the courtship rules, the ‘NIKE’ call etc. make sense now. The pieces of the puzzle are starting to fit together. I suspect that these rules and habits were brought about AFTER the molesting occurred, in order to protect their kids from anything ever happening like this again.
I respect the Duggars for owning up to the allegations immediately, and I respect Josh for resigning from his position with the Family Research Council in order not to taint them. Despite the fact that this record should have been wiped clean 2 years ago, and should never have been made public, the Duggars never fought back. Their immediate response was to be honest with the public about what had happened.
I don’t think their intention was to downplay how reprehensible these acts were, nor do we know the details about how the victims were taken care of. But the public does not need to know these details.
So what has been the message the Duggars have tried to portray all along?
· Girls are to dress modestly – shirts with sleeves, skirts below the knees, etc. however, they are not frumpy, they take time to look nice with beautiful hair, simple makeup etc.
· Boys are protected from seeing immodestly dressed women while in public – the Duggars have their own secret code word – NIKE – to alert the boys to avert their eyes as there is an immodestly dressed women in the vicinity.
· The Duggar side-hug – you will notice on the show, that even among family members, side-hugs are the customary embrace.
· Courtship rules – standards are set early in the relationship. First there is time allowed to spend together in group or family settings. If the couple wishes to start a ‘courtship’ relationship, the boy must ask the father’s position. Once courtship has begun, side hugs only are allowed. Hand holding is reserved for engagement and kissing for after the vows are complete at the wedding.
The children are taught from early age that boys are visual and these measures help safeguard both the girls and the boys. If all families adhered to these rules, I do believe we would have a lot less incidents of child molesting.
@xianjaneway provided some scary statistics here http://www.yellodyno.com/pdf/Juvenile_Sex_Offenders_July_07.pdf about adolescent molesters that I think are very important to be aware of – especially if you are involved in children’s ministry:
· Adolescents age 13 to 17 account for the vast majority of cases of rape and child molestation perpetrated by minor.
· The first offense is most likely to occur when the perpetrator is about 13 or 14 years old.
· Victims are most likely to be female acquaintances or siblings; rarely are they strangers.
· The most common scenario involves a 7- or 8-year-old victim (!!!).
What can we learn from this? How do we protect our children both in our homes, in our churches and elsewhere?
· Be aware of the potential of something bad happening, even when it doesn’t seem likely.
· Avoid placing children and youth in situations where harm can occur.
· Instill rules for appropriate dress and behavior and remind kids regularly and often – in a friendly way.
· Expect appropriate behavior; expect youth to treat one another with respect, at all times.
The Duggars have provided an example of living in such a way that promotes sexual purity. The one thing that I don’t necessarily agree with, is that the rules imply that boys/men have no control over their thoughts or actions. But knowing now what they must have gone through with Josh, I can at least see where their strict guidelines may have come from.
Here are a few guidelines I have tried to teach my kids who are now in their teens.
CHOOSE to think on things that are pure and lovely.
I actually posted this verse in my son’s bedroom, on the wall, right beside his head – Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8 to remind him that he is in control of his thoughts and he can choose to think on things that are pure and lovely.
What is seen cannot be unseen
It is NOT worth searching on the internet or looking at anything that may come on tv. Sexual images can become burned into our brains and can impact a healthy sexuality in marriage later in life. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18
Treat everyone with kindness and respect
This one goes without saying, but I mean it in the sense that you should speak to everyone, smart, beautiful, ugly, fat, rude, annoying or whatever with the same kindness and respect. We were all created in the image of God. – Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.Ephesians 4:32
Don’t allow yourself to be in a situation that may encourage and tempt someone of the opposite sex.
If you do end up in such a situation, even if it is with someone you love and trust and plan to marry someday, decide together to change the situation. You can always choose to do the right thing in any given moment. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
Don’t allow yourself to be in a situation that gives the perception of sexual immorality
Even when you have not done anything wrong, walking out of the barn together with messy hair and your shirt on backwards and no-one is going to believe your protests of innocence.
Be a good role model for others – especially younger youth and children.
Always be an encouragement for others. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12