I love big families.  To see numerous children interacting with one another and with parents can be quite amusing.  If you were a fly on the wall in the Kelley home, you would see over the course of a 30 minute period jokes being cracked, encouraging words spoken, instruction being given, discipline doled out, the prideful being humbled, a fist fight between Elijah and Ryle, Jacob talking for 28 of those 30 minutes, Christian and Gabe rough housing and wise cracking on anything from the news of the day to a sermon illustration heard, Micah playing with ‘coys’ (cars), Graceann impersonating a meerkat or one of her other beloved animals and April and I trying to figure out a way that we can sneak off to the ‘Q’ (Qdoba).  That is a day in the life of a family with numerous children.

Something my wife and I have enjoyed over the years is watching Jon & Kate Plus 8.  To see this mom and dad with twins AND sextuplets cope with such a large family has, in the past, been a cute show to watch.  A couple of interesting things happened along the way.  First, the show began to focus on the stuff that the family got to do and the places the family got to go rather than garden variety ‘normal’ living – waiting for daddy to come home, diaper changes, preparing meals, and trying to keep a tidy house to name a few.  The show started shooting the family in Hawaii, Disney World, skiing somewhere out west, and a host of other free things the family was given to pimp some product, place or service.

The other change in the show over the years is the relationship between Jon and Kate.  In the early shows, there seemed to be playful banter – Kate was saucy but manageable and Jon had a backbone to stand up when she crossed the line.  The evolution of Kate’s character over the years has been interesting to me.  She has gone from mildly annoying to terribly obnoxious in the past few years proving the proverb “better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman. (Proverbs 21:9) It is this change that has made the show unwatchable, at least for me. Kate’s disrespect for her husband and her exasperation towards her children are completely unacceptable particularly among those who name Christ. To watch this woman parent leaves me amazed that anyone would buy a book by her much less seek her autograph at a book signing.

So much has happened in one short year. Last year, the show’s ‘song’ was “It’s A Beautiful Life” – a catchy, upbeat tune that I even downloaded off of itunes. Now, with allegations of adultery on both sides and drunkenness – they’re just “Everyday People”. My wife told me that they now make $70,000 per episode for 20 episodes per season – that’s $1,400,000 – just for the show. Wow. I’ve been trying to pitch a show to TLC but I can’t think of anything that rhymes with seven…perhaps we could change our last name to Blyleven – Rick and April Blyleven plus seven? 🙂

It’s no longer a beautiful life. It seems as though money and fame has changed everything. You’ve got a contentious wife hell-bent on pimping her children so that she can continue this current lifestyle (whatever that is). But you also have Jon – who has for all practical purposes given the reigns of his family over to his wife. You see in all of this, the one that should be held responsible is Jon. Jon is the God appointed head of his family and he has abandoned his responsibility to lead. With his absence at the helm, you have a family that has completely lost its equilibrium. The priority now among both parents is not to save their marriage but to make sure that the kids are happy – after all, sad children do not make for an interesting tv show. This was the parting comment on the show last night – “the priority is the children”.

Really? The children? You see, we don’t stand before our God and make a covenant that we will be with our children for richer, for poorer, for better or worse, in sickness and in health – we make that covenant with our spouse. The best thing that Jon and Kate can do for their children is to love EACH OTHER and make their relationship the priority in the home…but that doesn’t help ratings much, does it?

So – two things I’ll take away – first Proverbs 30:8,9 “…give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown You and say ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal and so dishonor the name of my God.” Second, I will thank God for His goodness in giving me my dear, sweet wife who labors in virtual anonymity, pressing on day-by-day for me and our children that she might one day hear NOT “Can I have your autograph?” from adoring ‘fans’ but these words from her Lord Jesus, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

4 Comments on “Is it ‘A Beautiful Life’ now?

  1. Great job Rick! I pretty much agree with what you’ve written and it’s sad to see. If God isn’t the priority then anything else can slip in and become it.

  2. Amen dear Rick and April,I agree what a sad situation is this show in now. May the Lord give you guys grace to do it all for His glory. Stephen

  3. In next weeks episode of the “Kelleys Seven Sent From Heaven”
    Catchy?
    Maybe Not…
    This will push Jon and Kate right out of their time slot and you will be prime time!!!! I dont know if they would air the fist fights between Elijah and Ryle though.

  4. Interesting and very sad. It makes me realize why I love your family! Personally, I’d rather see you guys on a TV show… 😉

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