Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Growing Up Duggar Book Review

book cover

This is a good read.  I heard this book was coming out soon, so when it hit the shelves, I made a beeline for my local Lifeway Christian Bookstore, although I later came across copies of the same book (in hardback) at Barnes & Noble and (discounted) at my Kroger grocery store.

a really good place to shop for books, Bibles, greeting cards, music, Bible studies, and gifts

Although I wanted to read the book for myself, I bought my first copy for my granddaughter's upcoming birthday. I thought I'd preview the book first, then wrap and send it. However, my learning style is to underline words and phrases and make copious notes in the margins. I soon realized the material was good enough that I would need to have my own copy to keep and mark up.

The Duggar sisters who wrote this book together are the four eldest daughters of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, as seen on the TLC show, 19 KIDS AND COUNTING.  You may have seen their show on Tuesday evenings at 7pm Mountain Daylight Time (at least, that's when we catch it here in the greater Denver area).  These gals range in age from 24 to 20 and (as of this writing) are all still single, although at least two of them are in a courting relationship with some pretty nice-looking Christian men.

The subtitle for the book is "It's all about relationships" and they do a really fine job of explaining that.  Life in a family with so many children is interesting, of course, and so they wrote the book to share just how that works! 

The eight chapters and 234 pages explain relationships with self, parents, siblings, friends, boys, and God while including humorous and insightful anecdotes about their family life.  

While I, as a grandmother, learned much from these girls, perhaps the one overriding principle that struck me was how much effort their parents have devoted to teaching all of their children how to relate to God and others in a Biblical manner. You can't tell a child something just once and then expect them to remember and live it out.  You have to explain and share and listen and ask questions, gain their trust, show them love and affection … the book is a great lesson in parenting as well as getting a peek into their family life.

This family really does seek to live God's way. They take Biblical scripture literally and have discovered how to live it out practically in their family relationships and with their community. The pages of this book give the reader an understanding of why they do what they do and how they go about it. 

I was especially impressed with their story of how Michelle Duggar (the mother) learned to respond to anger with a quiet voice. She has taken to heart the verse in Proverbs 15:1, A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

She has taught herself to respond with a quiet voice when she feels provoked to anger. This affects herself and the person who is causing her to feel angry, resulting in a cooling of the heated emotions and leading to calm actions. This is a fascinating illustration of the practicality of scripture.

The girls wrote about their personal interests, gifts, and abilities and how they are using them to serve others. A big emphasis in the family is on serving both at home and out-of-state and even internationally.  They have been very active with mission projects, political campaigns, the local fire department and in the medical field.

Perhaps this book was written with the adolescent girl in mind, sort of as what an older sister would say to a younger sibling, but at the same time, I read many principles that are helpful for my stage of life. Young people and their parents should read Growing Up Duggar and use it as a starting point for good conversations with each other.

When I was growing up, the four Lennon Sisters on the Lawrence Welk Show inspired me to be the best person I could be.  Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger Duggar are excellent role models for today's girls.  

I will soon be gift-wrapping a copy of Growing Up Duggar for my eldest granddaughter. I hope some of my readers will do the same for the special young girls in their lives, too.

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