Like many Americans, I tuned in to the “very special episode” of “Jon & Kate Plus 8” last Monday. I must confess it was the first full episode I had ever watched, and what little I knew about the Gosselin family had come from my wife and kids.
I normally care as much about reality TV as the next guy—if the next guy is Amish. Still, the rumors were swirling about the marriage being in trouble, and I knew my wife and daughters were going to watch anyway, so a few minutes into the show I surrendered and plopped down to watch with them.
I ‘m really not one of those guys who talks to the TV. Not usually. I mean aside from U of L basketball games. But as the hour wore on, and as it became increasingly apparent what “the announcement” was going to be at the end, I found myself providing a running commentary to the proceedings. Here are some samplings:
· “Boy, Kate sure looks different now than when she had the sextuplets. Like, Hollywood different.”
· “How long has Jon been out of work?”
· “Stop saying separately that you both want to do what’s best for the children! Staying married is what’s best for the children!”
· “Will the cameras be rolling when the two oldest daughters start asking tough questions about why Mom and Dad aren’t together anymore?”
· “Kate, if you realize that one day your kids will be able to look at a television episode to see exactly when their parents broke up—maybe it’s time to stop the show!”
By the end of the episode, I was surprised into a teaching moment with my daughters. I suddenly realized something, and I asked them, “Girls, there was one thing that did not get mentioned one time during the whole show. Do you know what that is?” They both piped up, almost together, “They didn’t talk about God at all.” Bingo. Although I had never really followed the show, I knew that Jon and Kate were a Christian couple, both from things my wife and kids had seen and from their book, which I had seen in a Christian book store. I said, “No mention of God, the permanence of the vows they made to Him and to each other, no mention of going to Christian counseling or seeking help from their church.” Just, ‘It’s time for a change. . .’
I don’t know every detail about the Gosselins’ marriage, nor do I want to. If it sounds like I’m being judgmental, perhaps I am. But when you claim Christianity in a public way, the standards for your behavior go up. And when you invite cameras into your home, and you accept gifts and money and a certain elevation of lifestyle and profile, then the question isn’t, “What went wrong?” If you’re not living for Jesus, and he’s not in the center of your marriage, the question is why you ever thought your marriage had a chance to survive its own reality show.
I wish the best for the Gosselin’s and especially their children, who are the only truly innocent victims. If Mom and Dad truly realize how much damage they’re about to inflict on each other and on those children, I pray they will do the right thing. Shut down “Jon & Kate Plus 8,” and start doing the work to repair Jon and Kate.