Author: Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar
Basic Overview: In their second book, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, best known for their TLC show “19 Kids and Counting”, talk about their family systems, beliefs, traditions, and give readers “an up-close view of how they make it work.” In Part 1 the book picks up with their 19th child, Josie’s, premature birth and tells the story of the six months she spent in the NICU and how their family coped during that extremely difficult time.
In Part 2 they talk about their life in the spotlight and how they use the media exposure as a family as missionary and service opportunities, always looking to help others. They also talk about the fun and unique ways they teach their children about their beliefs.
In Part 3 they discuss a lot of the day to day workings of their home. They share stories and principles about their homeschooling efforts, family jobs and responsibilities, and encouraging their children to reach their potential.
Finally, in Part 4 they focus specifically on family relationships and give advice and resources for how to strengthen relationships with our children, siblings, and spouses. Michelle also writes a beautiful section on her testimony and beliefs of the important role of motherhood. She shares a story about her own struggles as a mother and how she learned and continues to learn to find joy in motherhood.
Parts I Liked Best:
1) I liked how the book started out with the story of Josie, particularly how the entire family was moved 200 miles from their home so that they could all stay together while she was in the NICU. It was a great preface to the constant theme throughout the book that this is a family who believes in staying together, no matter how hard or difficult it may be. Though there are typical sibling quarrels, they are raised as best friends and they learn from one another.
2) Michelle and Jim Bob share several experiences of heartache and tragedy throughout the book. However, what I love is how they put those experiences in the context of hope and faith. Talking about Josie’s premature birth Michelle commented, “We could have become fearful, bitter, or angry. Instead we deliberately chose to allow that life storm to draw us closer to God, trusting His promise to bring good out of every situation.”
3) I like that they teach their children to be hard workers and to work as a team. Everyone in the family has a job to do, even the littlest ones. Jim Bob said, “Molding children into enthusiastic workers requires that we, as parents, not only make the work fun whenever possible but also that we make the children feel appreciated for what they’re contributing to our family effort.”
4) While their styles may seem outdated to some I loved the section where Michelle talked about their belief in modesty. In a world where one can see scantily clad women on billboards, TV advertisements, etc. this is a family that believes in dressing in a modest fashion. Michelle said, “We don’t dress one way at home and another when we’re out in public or in front of the cameras. Our faith and modesty are part of our everyday life, not just an image we put on for others.”
How this Book Made an Impact in My Life, Especially as a Mother (or why I just really liked it): When I began reading this book I thought it would be an interesting look into a unique family, but did not necessarily look at it as a way to learn new ideas or ways to help my family. I quickly realized that while their family of 21 people is vastly different than my family of 4, we as parents both share a common belief and purpose to raise good, kind, happy, productive children who know without a doubt that they have a family and parents who love, support, and encourage them. I found myself taking extensive notes throughout my reading, consisting of parenting tips I want to try and principles I want to implement.
As a mother, I look at Michelle Duggar in amazement at how she is able to love and care for each of her 19 children and make them feel as though they are each her favorite. She finds and makes the time to tell each child she loves them daily, help them with their schoolwork, encourage them to expand their minds and serve others. While reading about her day-to-day comings and goings it made me want to strive more to just be there for my children. She doesn’t focus her time on things that aren’t important, simply because she doesn’t have that time to spare. She treasures each moment with her children and sees every encounter with them as a teaching opportunity. I hope to be more like that and put away the unrealistic expectations I have of over the top projects or fancy outings and just be with my children.
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