Ok, I don’t watch that much tv. And the one thing I stay away from is reality tv except for the shows where one family gives up their mom for a week or two and gets some other family’s mom for a week or two. I am addicted. Why? I’m glad you asked.
First of all, the producers of Trading Spouses and Wife Swap do their best to pick polar opposite moms/families. You can end up with a home schooled, free-wheelin’, hygienically relaxed, “us four, no more, close the door” home against a public schooled, overly scheduled, antiseptically clean, family boot camp.
Second of all, these homes tend to be extremist families - every week I wonder where in the heck did they find these people? Oh, yeah, they apply.
You couldn’t write stranger fiction than the family of modern day pirates, or the religious mom who wigged out at the pagan house seeing Satan everywhere, or the medieval family who didn’t have a home phone, or the beauty pageant mom sent to the antithesis of pagentry family, or even the mom who smoked and slept her way through the stress of the adventure.
But lastly and most importantly – you realize that each family can and should learn something from the other. Because they are polar opposites and extremists (read weirder than my family or yours) they can both afford to come towards the middle ground. And most of the time they do – which is where we as Christians can learn something.
It isn’t about compromise – it’s about growth - being mature enough to realize that sometimes we can actually learn something from someone who lives his/her life a little differently than us.