Why the Duggars Allow Themselves to Be Filmed for TV

6.15.12

Soundman Jim Goodwin with Michelle and the kids. Photo credit DCI.  

Sometimes people ask us what it's like to be in the spotlight and to be filmed for TV, so I'd like to share some thoughts about it. First, our film crew is so sweet, and they're fun to be around. Second, if we have an extra-busy week -- we have a lot going on family-wise with dental appointments, doctor appointments, etc. -- they'll work with our schedule. It's more about our life than it is about filming. 

There are some weeks when we do less filming, and other weeks when they'll follow us around because we're doing fieldtrips or other things, and they'll hang out with us more. For instance, we recently went to a community event in Joplin, Missouri, called A Celebration of Hope, which marked the year anniversary of a devastating tornado that hit the area.

Our children Jill, Jana and John are certified first responders, and Josh is a volunteer fire fighter, so they were able to help in the search and rescue effort last year. The rest of the children helped clean up debris and in any other ways they could. So we went to the event in May to share music, testimony and encouragement. Our film crew followed us and hung out with us longer than usual that weekend.

Being Open about Our Life

As far as we're concerned, we enjoy having our film crew around because they're great people to work with.They really are not intrusive. And if they see that we have a lot going on (you can only film so much of dental appointments!) they'll just pick up the next week. And that's pretty much how it works.

It's not a show. It is our life. And so they're just catching glimpses of it. When we walked through the miscarriage of Jubilee or the challenges of Josie being in the NICU, the film crew was there. We didn't tell them no. We felt like it was a part of life that probably many other people experience, and that as we walked through it, we felt like we needed to be open with people about those things. 

We're not a perfect family. We struggle just like everybody else, but we do know the one who has the answers. And if we can encourage people to turn their hearts to God for their answers, that's our hope because we know He has the answers to life's questions and problems. 

Having a Servant's Heart

The other day I went to the store and someone said, "I can't believe you're here by yourself. You mean you don't have security with you?" And I was like, "No, I'm a mom. I really don't have a security guard going with me everywhere I go. I'm going to get diapers and milk."

My heart's desire is not to allow myself to be puffed up by the fact that some people recognize me. That's not what it's about. It's really to point people to a relationship with God. And if I can encourage them in their life to turn to the one that has all the answers, then I feel like I've really done what I'm supposed to do.

We reiterate that to our older children, who are more able to understand the intention. (Our little ones may not quite understand all of that yet, that being on a TV show really isn't about us.) It's about having a servant spirit, looking for ways that we can encourage others.

Jesus said, "The greatest among you will be the servant." It's not about the one that's being served. It's the one who's saying, "How can I love this individual and show them God's love?" And that's what it's all about for us.

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