Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Before You Sign Up For Your Reality Show: Life Lessons from Jon and Kate

Posted by Michele Olson

Unless you really don’t watch TV or look at the internet headlines or browse the covers of the magazines while waiting to check out at the grocery story, you have by now heard the words Jon and Kate. They and their sextuplet plus twin children are the subject of a TLC reality show called “Jon and Kate Plus 8.”

In this show the viewer watches the day to day life of a Mom and Dad and all those kids in their Pennsylvania home. In “real” real life outside of the show, there have been rumors and accusations about marital misconduct…all which has been denied and apologized for at the same time. (Which kind of confuses everyone.)

Sure, they make probably $25,000 to $50,000 and episode and those are a lot of mouths to feed and college to worry about…but they are paying such a high price for filling their home with camera crews, lighting technicians and security guards. What started out as a novelty and something fun and interesting has turned into the type of complexity no family should subject themselves to. No producer wants to tape a show where nothing is happening to entice the audience. Of course to be successful they had to make day-to-day life a bit more dramatic. Unfortunately this has all taken an ugly turn.

In case you are on the phone right now with a producer pondering whether you should sign up for a reality show about your marriage or family, let's pause and think about this.

Here are some lessons from Jon and Kate:

1) Don’t do a reality show that involves exposing your children to the world’s eyes no matter how much money they are paying you.

2) Don’t expose your marriage and relationship to the scrutiny of ratings. Marriage and a healthy relationship take a lot of hard work, time and effort…put your energies there instead of into a TV show. (This is a life lesson for all of us, where are we putting our energies, and are they directed in the right place?)

3) Even before you see issues in your marriage…and with 8 kids, you know there are going to be some extra strains on your relationship…be pro-active in nurturing your marriage. We recommend healthy relationship education through a great organization like Being good at communication and conflict resolution would serve this family really well right now.

4) Put your marriage and family first…before fame, exorbitant income and all the allure of the red carpet. That will all fade but the love of a strong marriage and family can be forever.

5) Realize it’s not too late to bring this back to why you decided to get married in the first place. Recapture what’s important in your lives.
Like an accident along the side of the road where you don’t want to stare, but you can’t look away, millions of viewers will tune into Jon and Kate for the drama ahead.

Whether you choose to watch or not, let’s not forget these are real people with real children and real consequences at stake.
Let’s hope for better days of restoration ahead.
Let's hope that in our hearts, that is what we are really hoping to see.

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