Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Not the Same at All

Four oldest Duggar girls

Our twins with their two sets of twins.

I wasn't going to say more about Hana Williams but I'm seeing some disturbing online posts comparing the Duggars to the Williams and that is just ridiculous.

Seriously people, this is part of the report about the Williams:

Other punishments included locking Hana inside a dark closet for hours or days without food while the parents played the Bible on tape and Christian music for her while she was locked inside, according to court documents.

Hana also was forced to sleep in the barn on some nights or kept outside for hours in the cold without adequate clothing or shoes, court documents say - but she was allowed to wear shoes if there was snow on the ground.

The Williams also confirmed that they used a flexible plumbing tool as a switch to punish Hana and some of the other children in their household. The children told investigators that Hana sometimes was beaten with a switch for standing more than 12 inches away from where she was told to stand or for speaking without permission. The Williams' older biological children were sometimes encouraged to join in administering the punishment by their parents.

Other punishments included locking Hana inside a dark closet for hours or days without food while the parents played the Bible on tape and Christian music for her while she was locked inside, according to court documents.

How in the world can you compare this abuse to how the Duggars are raising their children? We've all seen them on television. They travel all over doing ministry projects. They are a good family. Sure, they have some strong convictions about things, but those kids are very much loved.

Of course the Williams did not abuse their birth children the same way as they did their adopted children. Some adopted children are difficult (and so are some birth children) but there is nothing to show that Hana was a difficult child at all. Sometimes when you get them at an older age, they come with emotional and sometimes physical baggage. But that's no excuse to beat and starve them.

Here is a question and answer I found on the Duggar website. It's kind of long but definitely worth reading:

Joan, a viewer, asks: I'm 77 years old and love your show. I wish I would have seen it when my children were young. I would have done things a lot different. You are doing such a beautiful job of raising your children. Do or have you ever had to spank your children?

Michelle: We have people ask us that all the time. We’ve really chosen to focus on praising our kids for good character, for Godly character. And as we do that, we find that we have a lot less trouble with correction when we are constantly looking for ways to praise them.

When we see them do a kind deed we praise them publicly. We always say, “You deserve praise.” You praise someone publicly, but if you’re going to have to correct someone, you correct them privately. You take them aside and talk to them privately so that you don’t humiliate them in front of people.

And by doing that I think it really sets a tone in your home of peace and harmony and a joyful place to live – it really is a happy place to be. The kids don’t dread coming home because they know this is the place they’re going to get strengthened and encouraged, and they’re going to have the energy to go out and do great things from here. To be able to stand alone when tough things come their way and know in their heart, “You know, that’s not right. I don’t want to partake in that because I can see the destruction that’ll come.” So when the home is the center of their worth as far as them being strengthened and edified and encouraged, they know they can go out and do anything set in front of them and do great things for God. That’s our goal.

So in training the little guys, day in and day out, if I see the little ones not being kind to each other, I will take them aside and I will deal with them and talk to them and have them work this out amongst themselves and learn to communicate and be kind to each other. And then when I see them being sweet and doing what’s right, I make a big deal! “Oh, Jennifer, you were such a sweet big sister! You got Jordyn a cup. You are so sweet! What a kind thing to do!!”

We’ve learned all the character qualities — we’re working on that for these little guys now. But the bigger ones, when they were little, we [talked about the] the definition of kindness: Seeing needs in the lives of others as opportunities to demonstrate love for Christ. “So when you got your sissy that cup of water, you were showing her love and kindness by doing that. You didn’t have to that; it wasn’t your job. But you saw that she was thirsty and you did that just because of your love for your sissy and because you love Jesus and Jesus tells you to be kind to others.” I always point them back to the reason why they want to do what’s right. And when you praise that character of kindness, they want to be more kind. Every time they get an opportunity, they’re going to look for a way to be kind.

And it doesn’t just have be our kids. Our spouses, the people we work with every day, people at school, all of us need to be encouraged. That’s why God gives us that scripture that says, “Encourage one another and build each other up, for this is right.” So often the natural inclination of us would be to look at all the negative, “They didn’t empty that trash. They know that’s their job. I can’t believe they didn’t do that …” We usually will spot the negative things – those tend to be the first things we see.

I think biting your tongue as a parent and saying, wait a minute, hold on. Let me look for something good. Surely there’s one thing good that they did! (Laughs) I’m going to find that one thing and then I’m going to find the character quality and praise them for it. Even the tiniest little effort they made, you’re building character. When you focus on the Godly character, it makes a much happier place to live. Learning to bite your tongue when you want to be negative and praising each other – it’s contagious. Then our children learn to praise by example. And so there’s a lot less correction going on.

I notice she didn't really answer the spanking question--and being in the public eye, she probably shouldn't because if she did say she spanked, she could find social services at her door saying they need to investigate. So I imagine she does, but that it's not her first choice. She praises the good behavior so that it will be repeated. Something we can all do.

I know the Duggars have encouraged many families through their example and their show, but I don't think the Williams have encouraged much of anyone. The mom constantly berated the two adopted children. I think all of us have complained about our children at one time or another, but that's usually when we're over tired or have been battling the same issue for too long. We are dealing with some behavior issues with one right now, and I've been careful to make sure I say at least three positive things to her each day--"Look at the nice way you hung up your coat and put your backpack on your shelf-way to go!" And like Michelle said, sometimes you have to bite your tongue and not say what you're thinking because it'll do more damage than good.

All this to say, there are no similarities between these families other than they both home schooled and kept their children close to them. For the Duggars, that means the children have lots of cool opportunities to try new things, travel and help others. For Hana it meant death.

I haven't heard any updates on the case but I hope that the right thing is done because a beautiful young lady lived for several years in a cold and unloving home and slowly died in front of them.

HERE's a video I found online about two of the Duggar boys. I've only met them once, but they all seem to be good kids who are making a positive difference in the world.

No comments: