Please allow me to preface this post by saying that I am not now, nor have I ever been, a regular viewer of the Dr Phil Show. Upon occasion, I have channel surfed by it and paused for a moment to see what the drama of the day happened to be, then I usually roll my eyes and go right on by.
But not last Thursday.
Thursday I skimmed by and stopped on the "heartbreaking" story of a 15 year old girl with big plans for herself. She dreamed of being on Broadway, of falling in love, of being the mother of 10 children. She wanted to marry her boyfriend when she graduated high school and then start having babies while she was in college. She reasoned that while it would be hard to do, it would take a while to have 10 so she should start young.
Dr Phil railed at this poor young woman about the blinders she had on her eyes. Ten children? What was she thinking? Did she have any idea how much it would cost for her to raise 10 children to adulthood? $1.78 million he told her. It costs $7000 a year per child just to care for them. What kind of job were she and this boyfriend of hers going to have that would make this kind of money? He told her that chances were that she would never see that much money in her lifetime.
Wow. Supportive. I can see why he's such a big star.
He has no problem with her wanting to work in the theater. He has no warnings against the seedy side of being an actress. Go to college, he says, follow your dreams, but be realistic about how many children you want to have. Realistic.
He sends this poor girl to spend 24 hours with a family that has 4 smallish children to get a taste of what it is that she's really asking for. Somehow he managed to convince a mother of 4 to do this, we should pray for her. The girl went and spent the day with this family and concluded that she should maybe go to college before starting a family, but she still wants 10 children. You go, girlfriend!
Dr Phil then began a "lighthearted" conversation with the mother of 4 that quickly became anything but fun and light.
"Were your children planned?" he asked her.
"No." she replied they just all happened."
"Didn't you figure it out after the first couple? Where they were coming from?" he retorted. "What are you learning disabled or something?"
At that point I had to pick my jaw up out of my lap. Was he serious? Learning disabled? He went on to tell this poor woman that she should have "turned the hose on" her husband after the first one or two.
I've thought about this a lot since then and I admit that I have been keeping a secret from you all.
I am learning disabled. No matter how many times I watch the good doctor, I just can't figure out his appeal. He just seems smarmy and mean to me.
I am learning disabled. I've seen his boys and listened to his wife talk and for the life of me I can't see what is so repugnant about them that he thinks a man in love with his wife should be treated like a dog in heat in order to prevent any more of the vile creatures.
I am learning disabled. I listen to his brand of common sense and I just can't find the sense in it no matter how I try.
I am learning disabled. Because I can't believe that a studio full of mostly women sat and laughed and clapped as this old man defamed their dignity as women.
I am learning disabled. I just don't get it. I thank God for my inability to learn the lessons he is teaching. The thing I keep coming back to is that one of us must be touched in the head, so either I am or he is.