Friday, July 3, 2009

Why You're Also To Blame for Jon and Kate's Divorce

Chances are, you did this. In fact, in all likelihood there's still blood on your hands from it. So tell me, how does it make you feel to tear apart a family with a mom, dad, and 8 kids?

I know, I know, it wasn't your intention. I guess from the start you were just simply entertained. But when things took a turn for the worse, you jumped on the TMZ train straight to "Happy Hour: Divorce Style" to get your fix on the latest break-up news. Only this time, it's not some A list actor splitting from his wife of 9 months. No, this is a family, one that began well over a decade ago. One that encompasses 10 people, 8 of which are age 6 or younger.

I can't be too harsh on you because, after all, I'm just as much a bearer of the blame. I tend to get a fix on these stories myself. It's so much more fun to watch people in the spotlight fail. After all, they get to be in that light, while we can only sit from afar and dream of just being in it's shadow.

If you were unsure of the exact situation I'm referring to here, be glad. Be content in being removed completely from this drama, one so disgustingly engrossing it's popularity spiked only when the worst moments arose. Jon and Kate Plus 8. The TLC reality show starring a big Brady Bunch like family, one with a set of twins and a set of septuplets. Only in this show, there seems to be no sweet Alice to help pull the troops together and smooth things over before the hour is over.

Jon and Kate announced publicly (via their show, of course) that they were filing for divorce. Cite different reasons all you want: she's too bossy, he's been cheating, they're exploiting their children, the stress of public life is too much, etc., but the only defining outcome of it all is this: two parents of 8 beautiful children are splitting up.

Understanding all the nooks and crannies that come with raising 8 kids (let alone doing so publicly) befuddles us "normal" people. We see this cast of characters as mere Monday evening entertainment. Quite frankly, it presents itself more of a fun show for our wives. However, now that things are falling apart, everyone wants to know about it. No sliver of gossip even this juicy escapes the interest of most Americans. But our reaction to the situation is what saddens me the most, and proves that we are becoming more and more numb to the idea of separation, divorce, and broken families.

Why is it we never talk much about the moments in a couple's life that go right? Why did TMZ and E! and those other stations not cover the times when Jon and Kate were reading bedtime stories to their children and having date nights and laughing and loving on camera?

Because we don't want that. A safe, strong, secure family is boring. We prove it with the ratings. You don't watch Entertainment Tonight to see which couples celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary. You watch it to see who's been caught red-handed with their secretary. Who's been out at the clubs with another man? Who filed for divorce among their other items on their daily check off list? Who's in alcohol rehab? Who was arrested for drug possession?

Perhaps even more tragic is that we react much the same to people in our every day lives who aren't daily tabloid fodder. Neighbors divorcing, co-workers cheating, family members going through depression. It's become all a big joke. Like screwing up is entertainment, and no price is too high to pay for it.

My hope is that we all will take a step back, and rather than label the Gosselins as "media whores" or as "just another reality show curse", we will instead be broken. That our hearts will break for any family going through tough situations. That we wouldn't simply sit comfortably in our chairs and become marriage therapists will all the advice and answers, but we would pray earnestly for family reconciliation. That we wouldn't turn our neighbor's issues into water cooler discussion, but we would seek out whole-hearted ways we can serve them in love.

And maybe, just maybe, we'll see Jon and Kate and any other families being torn apart as nothing but human beings on the other side of the camera, going through the same trials that we all go through. Then perhaps we could sympathize rather than judge and cast stones, and hopefully in turn not play the damning role of accomplices in a crime of breaking apart a family.

1 comment:

grhodes3 said...

I didn't watch their show but still feel for this family and their children. I'm sure God's heart is broken as well. This is where our nation has vicariously through a seemingly normal, albeit large, family. Why? I think it is because they have no family of their own. We want so badly to see a family make it when our family has not that we jump to judgment on this man and woman and weep for their children. I pray we take this as a wake up call for our own families that so desperately need to be whole for our children and children's children. Sorry for my rambling, but my heart does go out to them as I corporately take the blame for this tragedy. Regretfully, Trey