"The success in a family is first off, a love for God, and secondly, treating each other like you want to be treated," Jim Bob Duggar said. "Our goal is for each one of our children to be best friends, and everybody working together to serve each other makes that happen." - Jim Bob Duggar, husband of Michelle Duggar - who is due with child #18, in January 2009. You can read more about the Duggar family here.I first read about the Duggar family several years ago (when some smart-alec sent me a link about them and said something like "and you think YOU'VE got lots of laundry!?"). I've read about how they run their household, how much they all eat (and may I say, GACK their grocery bill is insane?) and how the homeschooling all works out for them. Truth be told, that family has a monumental advantage over most families, in that they have quite a fantastic set-up, that they call home. But the one thing about that family that I admire a great deal, is their love for one another. No question they probably have the same kinds of "family issues" with one another as any family does, but that love they have is pretty obvious in the interviews they give.
My dear friend Kim, who only WISHES she had 18 children (*snort) has made the same sort of comment to me (that Jim Duggar has often been quoted as saying) before about families and children especially, learning how to serve one another. Sometimes, when someone says something it's so simple, and yet so profound at the same time, it really sticks with you. This is one of those "things".
A love for God, treating each other with respect, and serving each other. Amazingly simple, and yet astoundingly NOT done by the vast majority of families. It's definitely something we're much more mindful of now, than we were even five years ago. It's definitely something we've been praying about much more often, in just the last year.
On Friday night while daughter #5 was at a play with her friend, daughter #4 and I spent some girl-time in the kitchen making cookies. When the first batch was done, we put some on the nice dishes and placed them on a tray, so that she could be the waitress. She was very proud of her first time cookies, and happy to serve them to her family.
I found it exceptionally touching today then, when we arrived home from church to see a great big trampoline sitting in our front yard (and when I say big, I mean HUGE). When we came inside and found daughter #1 and her boyfriend inside, we learned that they arrived right after we left for Sunday school, and spent the morning setting this up for the kids (not an easy thing to do when the wind is blowing like crazy). The looks on the younger four kid's faces, was absolutely priceless, and by the end of the day they had all spent about 6 hours on this thing. I'd say it was a big hit.
If that wasn't a great enough gift today, on Mother's Day, when I was leaving #2 daughter's house this evening, my absolutely, fantastically beautiful grand-daughter looked at me and tilted her little head to the side and waving, said "bye-bye gamma". I melted, of course. That was the first time she said "gamma", so I had to come back inside and give her great big hugs and kisses.
The greatest gift I think I've ever received on Mother's Day, was in seeing my kids mindful of one another and doing it with real joy - not out of any obligation at all (as in "you'd better be nice to your sister, and enjoy it, or else!") To top that off with hearing my grand-muffin call me gamma, just made this the best Mother's Day I think I've ever had.
I think now, I'll end the day with a pineapple hot-caramel sundae and my new John MacArthur book. Yeah, that sounds really good.