Family Life

Michelle Duggar on Her Family’s Buddy System

posted: 09/09/13
by: Michelle Duggar
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9.9.13

Photo: DCL

Question from a "19 Kids and Counting" fan on Facebook: When did you start using the buddy system?

We came up with the idea years ago when we had a number of little ones, I don't exactly remember what age the oldest one was -- maybe eight years old. We were trying to gather up all the shoes as we were walking out the door, getting them on the little feet and tying them, and buckling up all the car seats. And we realized it works much better if we're trying to hurry to have one of the older ones help the little guys buckle their seatbelts.

They'd climb over the seats to the back of the van and do it about as fast as we could say it. That's how it started -- as we were getting ready or getting things done, one of the older ones would just jump in and help with one of the little ones. If they saw that a shoe wasn't tied, well, they'd bend over and help tie the shoe. And we thought, wow that is so sweet because the little guys really look up to the bigger ones; they admire them and they want to be like them. They want to be big and they want to be able to do those things someday.

The older ones just loved it because they thought, "Wow, I'm big. I'm a helper. I get to be a helper for this little guy or this little girl." And the little guys absolutely loved it because it's like a mentoring relationship. It's so much fun to have that older one to be your buddy. I have noticed the ones that were teamed up and worked together a lot have such a sweetness in their relationship. All of them love hanging out with each other, but I have found that those buddy teams, they really do a lot together even today.

When Josie was born, Jackson came to me after things calmed down with the hospital birth and said, "Mama, Josie - she's going to be on my buddy team, isn't she?" I hadn't thought about it yet. "Well, it's our turn to get another buddy," he said. "And she's got a dimple just like me. That means she's on our team." He said, "I'll make sure that if you need anything for Josie, I'll get it. You just tell me whatever she needs and I'll go get it for you."

He really wanted to be a good buddy because he was the smallest one. He was great. If she needed somebody to keep her from being fussy, he would get up there and talk to her and smile at her and she would just grin. And he would push her around in her little stroller and keep her content. It was his chance to big the big guy for a change and he loved it.

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