They wanted to tell my perspective, in light of the Duggar’s recent presence in the news, of what it means to be “Quiverfull.” It was a radio show that airs on NPR.
My first thought was to decline. Publicity typically doesn’t go well for people and the farther we can stay away from it, probably, the better. Besides, I’m already the brunt of public, mean-spirited, dishonest and distorted information, and it’s not fun. But precisely because of that, I decided that maybe it was a chance to tell the truth and dispel of few misconceptions.
I told her I would do it, but that we don’t adhere to the label “Quiverfull”, though it is the label others have given us.
First, I get the need for labels. Sometimes it aids discussion and helps us say what we mean with fewer words. But most of the time, labels turn into unfair categorizing, painting whole groups of people with broad brushes on the actions of some. (I’ve been guilty of doing the same thing.)
In case you’re unaware, “Quiverfull” doesn’t carry a very positive connotation, and often gets lumped in with discussions about cults and parental and/or spiritual abuse.
Which is why the label doesn’t fit us.
The truth is, there are large, homeschooling families (the most obvious criteria for “Quiverfull”) that make a mess of things. Some are bad parents, even abusive. Some don’t understand marriage or compassion, or how to balance relationships in a family. And it’s ugly.
But, there are just as many of those examples among “normal” families.
The truth is, in every type of family there are great examples and terrible ones.
We must discern the difference or we risk being labeled and stereotyped ourselves. Not only should we discern the difference, we should be demanding integrity and truth in every conversation, not willing to abide slander or misinformation. Because when we accept it, the truth about everything slowly dies. Nothing has made misinformation more prevalent than the Internet, but when we blindly accept what we read without being discerners of truth, we participate in the greatest destroyer of relationships there ever was. (Which is where the problem originates: the ability to tear people down behind a screen because we don’t have relationships with them and in fact, don’t perceive them as real people.)
I gave an example to the host in my interview: I am constantly seeing a new story in the news about a public school teacher who has been arrested for sexual crimes against students. It seems like an epidemic. Since there are so many, is it fair or right for us to make the whole lot of public school teachers suspect? Of course not. There are still many, many honorable people in that profession and we should recognize that and defend them if someone tries to mar their reputation by imputing another’s negative behavior onto them.
The second reason “Quiverfull Movement” doesn’t fit us is because we don’t follow a group or person. We don’t ascribe to any list of rules or ideology outside of God’s Word. We follow Jesus Christ.
So at the end of the interview she asked me, “Since you don’t see yourself as ‘Quiverfull’, what do you want to be called?”
Me: “A normal person.”
Seriously though, why must we be labeled? So I mentioned to her that the widespread acceptance of birth control has only been for the last 70 years or so. A “movement” implies a deviation away from what is considered normal. Before birth control was made popular, it was normal to have a larger family. In fact, throughout history, it’s been normal for thousands of years, compared to the few decades where strict prevention of children has been practiced. If there’s a movement at all, it’s “The Birth Control Movement.”
Let them answer questions for a while.
(Thank you, Interfaith, for letting me tell my story. It was an honor.)
I’ll try to let you know when it airs. To God be the glory.