Monday, August 3, 2015

Anna Duggar: '[Children] Are Not...Perfect'

During an interview with Anna Duggar while she was pregnant with Meredith, we asked how she keeps her kids quiet and still during church. We hope her response is helpful to all of the mothers and mothers-to-be out there. 

Lily and Ellie: What do you do to help your kids stay quiet and still during church?

Anna Duggar: I don't expect my babies to be quiet and still during church. When my kids are between two and three, that is when I want them to start being quiet during church, although that may mean they are coloring pictures the whole time. 

We practice at home. Michelle talks about starting quiet and sit still time when a child is two years old or a little younger. Start by having the child in a chair and you in a chair. I start off with about 10 seconds and will hold my fingers up and count to 10. When the time is up, I clap and cheer and sometimes give the child a reward. You can increase the time span with each session.

Every once in a while, I go back and practice quiet and sit still time with Mackynzie and Michael, who are five and four. When it comes time for church, I'll have something to keep their hands busy, such as a Bible story coloring book or a notebook and pen, that won't distract their minds from the message.

It's amazing what kids can pick up on while they are coloring a picture. Their ears are still working, even though their hands are busy. In fact, if you keep their hands busy, they often learn more than they otherwise would. But at the end of the day, they are just children, and they aren't going to be perfect, but it's important to praise them when they do well.

Josh and Anna recently moved back to Arkansas, but while they were living in Washington D.C., they attended McLean Bible Church, a mega church with multiple campuses. During services, Anna would put Marcus in the nursery or sit with him in the family quiet room. On Sundays when Marcus was in the nursery, Josh and Anna would take Mackynzie and Michael into the main auditorium.

Anna: With a new baby, it is so easy to keep them quiet and still, but in between 14 and 24 months, it is a lot more of a challenge. In churches where there is no nursery, you might have nine moms with nine babies ages 14-24 months in the back, and they really can't hear the message. But if you had a nursery, two of them could do it each week, and the others could listen to the message. I think it's a fine balance with each family finding God's will for their lives.


Photos courtesy of duggarfamily.com

99 comments:

  1. Miss the show and the family so much! We all hope that TLC will reconsider at some pint down the road and bring the show back. Our Tuesday nights have not been the same without our Duggars!

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  2. You are an awesome mom, Anna. I really miss seeing you and your family every week.

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  3. I loved hearing her say they are just children and they aren't going to be perfect. I try so hard to keep our girls ages 2 and 4 quiet in church and well behaved when we are out but it doesn't happen.

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  4. Anna and Josh you are both very good parents! Proud of you both and glad we can still follow your family as it grows. We all love you and will miss your show so much!

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  5. Anna Duggar is a special MOTHER. I admire her. She loves her family and she is teaching them when small how to live their lives. She cares so much to do the right thing. I am very sure that she knew about her husbands past when she married him. I love the whole Duggar family.

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    1. She actually did say she knew about his past before they married (when they were courting, actually), but I don't think it was his PAST that's the problem. It's what he's continued to do WHILE they've been married.

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    2. Believe that children should always have great structure and that is what you have the great job Anna that is what every parent should follow that is a great example how you teach your children to behave and move amenable and respectful that is what a family should be like that is the most important thing that all families should not and where we learn that this world would be a better place

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  6. Thank you for your comments, practiced alot of these helpful hints when my own children were younger. You are looking great, stay strong. Really miss the show.

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  7. great lesson , thanks for sharing. I hope your family is doing well
    God Bless

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  8. Wish the were back on so we could keep up with the Duggars, They are such a nice holism family

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  9. I think practicing quiet time in preparation for church is a really good idea. Children can absolutely pick up pieces of the message as well as testimonies from members and worship music.

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    1. I say let the children decide when they are older if they want to practice religion or not

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    2. If you actually believe your faith and it is important to you, then you want to share that with your children. Religion is probably one of the few things that we think children should make a choice. We don't let them choose whether or not to play in traffic, eat their vegetables or wear a seat belt. Faith is about eternity and for parents that believe that, we feel that it is more important than anything else. When children become adults, then they choose whether to follow the faith or not, whether to eat their vegetables or not and most everything else.

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  10. I love you guys! Anna, thank you for your wisdom, your strength, your determination and your peace. You bring hope to my heart as I watch you, Josh and the children move forward in your lives. I am so very proud of you! Keep being seen. The darkness hates it, because darkness hates light. "The just man falls seven times yet rises up again." Proverbs 24:16

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  11. children are a blessing, seeing the world through new eyes, enjoying new discoveries with them its all so amazing. If they are coloring who cares they are listening at least in their spirits.

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  12. Not a big fan of nurseries. I volunteer in ours every few weeks and that is the only time my daughter goes in there. Even when I am there, bigger kids often push her down and yell at her, so I'm not comfortable leaving her in there alone. I want to make sure she responds okay to being treated like that. She's only 18 months, but sits in service quite well because it is what we usually do each week. If she is disruptive, we take her out. No big deal. Due with number two soon and I'm sure it will get tougher!

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    1. That's not good to hear. Have you talked to anyone about your concerns? There should always be enough adults to help children not get hurt and so wound up that they hurt others.

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  13. Blessings to Anna and Josh!!! God holds you in the palm of HIS hand! NOTHING comes into your lives without HIS SOVEREIGN permission!!! I believe with all of my heart that you have been through is a wake-up call to the body of Christ as to what the initial stages of all out persecution will look like in this country! Please know that you are loved and covered in prayer!!

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  14. Very nice sharing Anna. Babies should never keep a parent from coming to Church. Don't expect perfection. My husband is a Pastor and tells parents that baby sounds are like music to his ear, for they stand for LIFE and our Future. So he allows the children to make baby sounds or movements....if the baby screams, then the parent takes them to the CRY ROOM because THEN it becomes a distraction to many. In FL, we have a large population of senior citizens, so in many churches the sound of a baby is LOVE IN THE AIR.

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  15. I think Anna and Josh are great parents and this philosophy can be used at any public venue such as restaurants as well .

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  16. I love the way she does this. As we can see from Anna's interview, there's a lot to be learned from Michelle. Great family all around.

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  17. I wish I had the patience and wisdom that Anna has when my children were that age. If only I knew then what I know now! Josh and Anna are good parents raising their children the right way and I pray God's blessings on their family.

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  18. How is Josh doing now ? and where is he working if you moved back to Arkansas ?

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  19. Wish you all were still on tv

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  20. Thanks for taking the time to help others from your busy schedule. I know this post will help other mother's with young children, encouragement goes a long way when you have babies that just don't have an attention span of more than a few minutes. You are a blessing. Please dont allow that are negative to dim your light. God Bless you are yours.

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  21. McLean Bible.....my son goes there and I used to when it was a much smaller church.

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  22. Love this quiet time practice! Not only is it good for church, but Doctors appointments, nap time, during phone calls, etc! It's such a great skill for our kids!

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  23. amazing parents to be admired!

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  24. Great advice that I'll bear in mind for the day I get married and have little blessings - Thank you!

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  25. I so appreciated this post! Thanks Anna. I have a 13 month old that my husband and I wrestled with through church yesterday, taking him out a couple of times. I have another baby on the way and sometimes the thought of having 2 in a service in the future seems a bit overwhelming. (especially when my husband has to miss church because of military duty.) It was good to hear that you don't expect your little ones to be still and quiet. we don't have a nursery at church, and I just feel like it's beyond a 13 month year olds ability to be quiet for 5 minutes... let alone an hour! after reading your post, it somehow made me breath easier... like I'm not crazy. thanks so much for your ministry. I respect your family so much.

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  26. My mom used to have me draw pictures that went along with the message. It kept me busy listening and processing what was being said, but was still down to my level because I got to draw.

    She also had a special bag of toys that I only got to play with when we were out somewhere and I needed to be quiet. This effectively prevented the "I don't want to play with the same toys I play with everyday" thing from happening. I looked forward to getting to play with those special toys, and they kept me intrigued and quiet usually the whole time.

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  27. I hope you all Still write your books I love reading them. I do miss your show , I will miss watching the kids grow up.

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  28. Sure wish none of this had come out your show was inspiring to all !!! I hope life is being good to the family and remember everything happens for a reason so God must have a new path for the family to walk . OXOX

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  29. Thanks Anna for sharing your ideas on keeping little ones quiet and busy with their hands. Miss seeing your family on TV hoping for a video with the interview next time.

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    1. I to have gone through the same thing you're family has with a brother who was a child molester my oun daughter an many more family member but he was a grown man not a 14 year old boy so yes I miss the show an admire an I pray for Josh an Anna

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  30. Anna, I just finished reading your post. I have always thought you & Josh are outstanding parents. What the media has done to the entire Duggar family is a disgrace. Adults are able to cope with most things, but young children are not. I have watched the Duggar kids grow up & to have you "snatched away" in such a manner is so not Christian. But, sad to say, "Christian" is the key word here, isn't it? I would be honored to have any of you as my child or grandchild; your parents have done one awesome job raising you. I will continue praying for the entire family. People who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus do not have a clue what they have done. I hope all of you stay strong in The Lord; He will be the One exalted in the end! God Bless!!!

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  31. You are both wonderful parents

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  32. Anna is a very wise Mommy. Shes spot on!

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  33. Miss watching you all on tv.

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  34. My grandmother allowed me to be a child in church, I remember being on the floor and scooting from the first row of seats to the last , always being careful to not touch people's feet. It was a small church filled with love. This warm memory helped shape who God made me into today...........Joy

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  35. A very interesting story. I don't take my children many places cause I am afraid of offending people.

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    1. And let me elaborate on that. Kids are kids, but I don't put up with fits. As the mom of lots of kids, the teens can throw as many fits as the littles

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  36. I love Anna and all the advice she has to share being a young mother of 4. I hope the show comes back on!!

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  37. Miss your show Pray y'all find a station to film your family life God Bless you all !!!!!

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  38. Very well said Anna. I'll just add one thing, if they become out of control..take them out so the other people can listen. I really like the kid and family rooms....This is Elaine, don't know hubby's google account password...we really do miss seeing you guys on tv. This site helps a little,, luv you guys

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  39. We have a nursery at our church. We have many volunteers, from teens (girls only) to grandmas. We only have to do it once a month or more if you volunteer. We have 2 nursery school. One for breast feeding moms and little infants and sleeping babies the other for toddlers.

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  40. With our church (ECC) we have a nursery staffed weekly with an adult volunteer, and a helper (usually a teenager). It is for children 5 and under. Older children get children's church (seperate from Sunday school) twice a month. Otherwise they are encouraged to sit with their parents during the service. There are usually a couple of adults who sit near the back and are more than happy to keep little hands busy if they are to old for nursery. We are not a mega church, we average probably 75-100 weekly. We have around 20 kids under the age of teen, and about 15 teens. It is important to keep all engaged no matter the age.

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  41. Great ideas Anna! Thanks for sharing! Please know you, Josh and the kids have our love and prayers! God Bless!

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  42. your doing a fine job with your childern may the lord bless your family he even more

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  43. I think that is awesome advice that we can glean from a young mother herself ! I think she does an awesome job with her children ! God Bless !

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  44. Thank you for sharing Anna's insights. It's encouraging to see how the Duggars strive to find that balance without putting others down.

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  45. We have a nursery at our church and it is a GREAT blessing!!! I agree with most of what she said there!

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  46. I have enjoyed watching this wonderful family share their personal life's journey! I know you are willing to be used by the Lord to bring REAL Truth to a Sin-sick world. You have been given a unique platform with which to spread the Truth of the Gospel--the real "Good News"--that Jesus came to set the sinner free!! That there is real HOPE & Freedom for everyone, if they come by the way of the Cross!! What future do our children have in this sex-soaked society where parents need to be afraid for a child with a cellphone. Dark secrets exist in every family. How should we deal with them when we come from generations who just dealt with problems by silence and looking the other way? So, God Bless you all in this journey!! Time is short, Evil is pervasive, but the KING is coming!! Let your light shine in the darkness, be Brave, be Bold.....I am waiting & watching, knowing the Lord will make beauty from the ashes!! GOD BLESS!!!

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  47. Good advice Anna. Children can multitask and absorb what is being said even as they color or other quiet play. Pastors should remember that as they preach and incorporate kid-friendly language and activities into the service. Congregations can provide "quiet bags" and toys for Jesus' little ones.

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  48. Very good advice, Anna. Thank you.

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  49. Very good suggestions.

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  50. Please put them back on T.V.

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  51. So wonderful to see your comments. I hope we get to hear a lot more from you and Josh. You have learned so much about living for the Lord in a sin-sick world. You can teach us how to cope. Shirley Fisher

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  52. I'm so glad to see y'all. With merideth. She's beautiful. Looks like her sister. I truly miss the family and am glad to see y'all out smiling. Best wishes to you Josh and kidos

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  53. Love seeing y'all out smiling, eating dinner. Merideth is beautiful. Looks like kenzy. I miss seeing y'all. But try to keep up on things. Always love seeing you Anna,Josh and the kidoes! My prayers are with you.

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  54. Very sweet pictures but Josh and Anna need to lose weight so they can be around for their sweeties

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    1. Anna just had her 4th baby & Josh looks thin & gaunt following his traumatic ordeal. I would not presume to tell them "they need to lose weight."

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  55. Anna you are a fantastic mother! I wish to be more like you.

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  56. Kids belong in the nursery, Sunday School and children's church. They will learn a lot more in a program geared for their own age, and they will also make friends.

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  57. I love your family All of them, and miss all of you. God Bless you.

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  58. so many new mothers need the duggar advice on happy healthy children raising ideas and skills! blessings!

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  59. We have never had a nursery in our church, but when my children were young, if they started getting restless we took them into the gathering space. They started Catholic school in K and had mass once a week. That also helped prepare them for church behavior. Miss your family and wishing you all the best.

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  60. I admire you so much, Anna. You are such a good mother!!

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  61. Thank you Lily and Ellie for asking Anna for such helpful and very good mothering advice. I love the training in sitting quietly from an early age at home and celebrating each time! Anna and Josh are in our thoughts and prayers! Trusting God to bless them and encourage them. So happy to know all is well with new baby Meredith!

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  62. Great advice, Anna is an excellent mother. So strange not to have them on TLC anymore. I just realized recently tbat i almost never tune into TLC anymore. I think I have only tuned in twice in months. I guess the Duggars were what drew me to the station. I appreciate Lily and Ellie for keeping fams updated.

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  63. Please don't think I'm a hater because I mean this sincerely... Remember Michelle is an advocate of "blanket training", and follows the tutelage of a couple that proudly writes about whipping their four month old with a switch to " train" her. Even this "sit still" training in a lot of families involves a switch when the kids don't make it the whole time. I like awake at night wiring about poor delicate little Josie being put through this! I pray that Anna as well as the Duggar sisters break the cycle of abuse and don't raise their babies to behave out of fear of a beating.

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  64. Does Anna practice blanket training?

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  65. At my church, we have a lot of people that just love kids. We frequently will take on a kid that does not belong to us just to help their parents out during the service. You know, rocking, feeding a bottle, etc. The kids develop a grand parent type relationship with several of our members. It helps parents to know that they can rely on several people in the sanctuary to just be there. This bonds together our congregation in strong ways. We also have a bus ministry and have several kids whose parents do not come at all. These kids also develop strong relationships with their Sunday School teachers, bus driver and people who just take them to heart. My name is Barbara

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  66. I love this advice! I miss your show and wish there was something we could do to get you back on the air. In the meantime, I happy that we have this blog to follow.

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  67. Please tell me when and where you heard that Michelle uses the switch training with her children? I've followed this family from the beginning and must admit I would be very disgusted and disappointed to know they hit their children in order to "train" them. While I believe a form of discipline should be used I def do not believe that is the right way

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  68. So good to know Anna is using Michelle's wise parenting tips. Josh and Anna are such a wonderful Godly family and I am so thankful for their strong Christian witness. America needs more families like this one (of course they both had great examples from their own parents). I pray that that all the Duggars will have their platform back so they can continue to witness to millions. May God bless them all!

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  69. Josh probably should loose some, but Anna just had a baby. Give her a break.

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  70. I miss your show!! I hope and pray that another network will pick it up! I refuse to watch TLC network shows now!! Thoughts and prayers are with your family!

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  71. Anna looks great. No need to lose weight that I can see.

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  72. My grandparents attend that church and they live in Reston, Virgina

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  73. @AnonymousI don't think that Michelle practiced blanket training in the way you describe;.; If you read their first book she describes it much differently - more like just putting the child back onto the blanket until they learn to stay there. She never mentions using a switch and it would seem out of character for her to do that; I think that was a rumor started by "haters"!

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  74. We miss the show!! It was very encouraging and. Informative. We pray that the negativity around you guys is only to make your faith and love for God stronger.

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  75. Josh should not disclose where he is currently working to the public. There are those who would attempt to get him fired. Now if he has his own business as he had before, this would not be a problem. Many blessings to the Duggar family. LSC

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  76. Here in Belgium we had a nursery with a musiv boxes trough witch we can folow the sermon. Under the age of 2.5 years old they could play. From that age they have different sundayscool classes until 12 years old. All children stay with their parents during praise and worshipping time. They attend to their classes during the sermon. I find this a good solution. It id not easy to learn children to be quiet in church, but I do think they have to learn to have respect.

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  77. When and why did they move back to Arkansas?

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  78. @Timmy HunterOf course they believe in biblical discipline...don't see how a Christian claiming to follow the Bible could not.

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  79. @AnonymousThen why did they call together all the wives, kids and little ones together with the men in the Bible to hear the word of the Lord?

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  80. Anna it would be nice too to also get your own mothers advice to share.

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  81. I'm sorry, but I have a very hard time taking parenting advice from Josh's wife.

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  82. To the person saying Anna has to lose weight: How did YOU look 2 weeks after giving birth? Sheesh!

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  83. Hi Josh and Anna, You all are awesome...thank you for sharing your beautiful family and precious moments! Miss you terribly...pray healing over you all and God's many blessings! A scripture comes to mind that Jesus spoke in His Word..."Let the person without sin throw the first stone"... that is what we all must do, all the time. For we all have sinned and have fallen short of God's glory. I regret for you all that this has gone public. It never should have. Josh, you and your precious family have dealt with this in a Godly manner and the past needs to remain the past. You have, well grown from this and above this and no man should ever judge you. What God has forgiven, let no man pass judgment. Love you all and will miss you greatly. Joyce

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    1. He who is without sin cast the first stone

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  84. May God continue to us to bless you and your family.

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  85. May God continue to bless you and your family

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