Saturday, January 10, 2009

Reading Eagle: Food for Thought

From the Reading Eagle:

Darrin Youker: Should families' lives be fodder for reality TV?
Reading, PA - One night a few weeks back, as I was absorbed in yet another book, my wife got my attention and said: "Did you hear that Michelle Duggar had her 18th child?"

I paused in silent reflection, racking my brain to try and remember who we knew that had 17 kids and was expecting another. I drew a blank.

"Who's that?"

"The Duggars from Arkansas who had a bunch of kids. They have a show on TLC called '17 Kids & Counting.' "

How my wife, without access to a television at home, knows what's happening with the Duggars is beyond me.And from time to time, relatives of mine love to talk to me about "Jon and Kate Plus 8," knowing I have a special connection to that show. As I'm sure we all remember, the plucky Gosselin sextuplets were born in Berks County.

Again, without having a TV at home, I'm missing out on seeing their family trips to Florida and Maui.I'm starting to rethink my position on not having a television.

In fact, I think it might be worthwhile to have my children a little bit more exposed to pop culture.

So that's why I'm offering up my family for a reality television show.

Since the trend these days is to feature families with a lot of children, I'm left with a few options to ponder. My wife and I could try expanding our brood of two. Or, we could "borrow" a few of our adorable nieces and nephews to give us a gaggle of kids.

But I'm thinking of going about it with a different angle.

The Youkers live in a cramped two-bedroom semi. Our little angels have to share one bedroom. To get to the one bathroom in the house, you have to go through their bedroom. There's one closet, no playroom and no wooden swing set in the backyard. Pretty rustic conditions for a middle-class family.

Plus, four people living in a 900-square-foot house makes it seem like twice as many people live there. Toys are everywhere. Dad's constantly tripping over wooden blocks, trains, cars and fire trucks.The setting naturally breeds some tension, and comedic moments. Who wouldn't laugh as Dad twists an ankle while falling over a misplaced truck and curses his lot in life for having to live in such cramped quarters?

As an added bonus, my children are adorable. My son has blond hair, blue eyes and an angelic look that says, "I never get in trouble." My daughter has a feisty scowl and loves to torment her older brother through hair pulling.Exciting things happen in the Youker house. We had a teddy bear parade when Sam got potty trained. My daughter ate cake when she turned 1. And, it's anyone's guess how my shy son will react when he soon goes to preschool for the first time.

To top it off, we go to exciting places together as a family. Just this year we went to upstate New York and Springfield, Mo.Wow!I doubt we'll get any offers.

Maybe it's for the best. I have to question the wisdom of displaying a family's life in front of television cameras. I have to wonder what type of men and women those children will grow up to become. They're not actors. There's no role to play, no character to create, no lines to read. Their real lives are our entertainment. Maybe we're the ones who need our priorities examined.