I Read ‘Growing Up Duggar’: Chapter 8 — Your Relationship with the World

This chapter is all about “developing a servant’s heart” and tells us that they will “never forget the girls in the cage.” They are referencing an orphanage in Central America “several of us Duggars” visited.

At the orphanage, Jana shared her testimony. She asked the kids there if they would go to heaven if they died that night. Most were unsure, probably because it’s a weird-ass question to ask a group of strangers. One girl, wearing a leather jacket and a sullen face, told them she was going to hell. She even walked out and back in during the talk, and the Duggars determine this meant a struggle was happening within her.

Keep in mind that the Duggars don’t mention anyone’s clothes unless they fit into a stereotype. Leather jackets=bad.

Anyway, Jill decided to make a bracelet with this girl. Jill was able to tell her some Bible verses. And apparently that’s the end of that story.

The Duggar girls make a lot of assumptions about the children in the orphanage, saying “aside from Jesus, they had no hope.” So, these girls are painting the children with a broad brush and boasting about bringing them their only source of hope. They also say, “we are often reminded that we may be the first glimpse of Jesus anyone has seen.”

Super humble.

This is part of the book that I find absolutely abhorrent. They boast and brag about visiting orphanages to speak in a language the children don’t understand. They tout Bible verses to people who are more than likely already Christian. They have nothing of substance to offer these children. The Duggars will go back to their tater tot palace, feeling like they really did something to help.

The Duggars don’t really tell us why it’s important to help others. They don’t talk about lessening the suffering of others, of using their own privilege to help people build skills, have access to food, and establish their own homes. They just show up speaking English in Honduras, a country in which over three-fourths of the population already identifies as Christian, according to a quick Google search.

Jana and Jill volunteered with the local fire department (in skirts), which is probably the best way they’ve been helpful. I have nothing snarky to say about this. If they really do this, showing up on scene to help with valuable skills, that’s great.

Jill studied midwifery. She doesn’t talk about babies she’s actually helped delivered but instead gets into the one birth she didn’t actually attend. It turns into a rant about a hospital on a trip to China.

Jana talks about a program she works with, some sort of church camp. Jinger talks about ministering behind bars. She gives herself a giant pat on the back for going to Florida to minister to them, not to go to the beach. She also completely ignores the social implications behind the decisions that might lead to somebody being found guilty of a crime and skips right to the devil convincing them to do things.

Apparently Jessa contributes to the world by styling her younger brothers and doing her siblings hair? Maybe I’ve missed something there, but I sure as hell am not going to reread this chapter.

Since this is the final chapter of the book, the Duggar ladies leave us with a few final words. The Duggars love me. They’ve prayed for me. They invite me to email them to let them know how God is working in my life.

Keep praying, ladies.

How would I describe this book? Frustratingly surface-level. There is no depth here. In fact, you will find that each of the women has the same voice. You can’t tell who is writing what. There’s no personality here.

This book also isn’t helpful for the audience the Duggars think they are appealing to. This book is meant for girls growing up in exactly the same sheltered environment as them or younger girls. This book doesn’t give any powerful tips for building confidence, having self-esteem, or growing meaningful relationships.

A normal “worldly” teenager is not going to learn anything here. Even for those who are spiritual or religious, I’d advise picking up one of many other books geared toward adolescents.

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