By now everyone has seen the merriment and mayhem of parents and their multiples on “Reality TV”. All the free VIP tours of resort parks, major tourist locales and name brand shopping chains have sent many  flocking for IVF treatment. Or was there anyone beside Nadja Suleman? Take it from me what you see on TV is about as reliable as the “Mixxie Chopper” for $5.99 that dices, slices and screens annoying calls. Of course the “mixxie “will fall apart the 1st time it leaves your dishwasher and so sadly do most of the made for TV family cash ins.   Remember this, whatever they are selling on TV; if you don’t buy it, it goes away! The trouble is too many are buying into these concocted “family” circuses.

Parenting today is a most serious business. Just Goggle “parenting books” you will find 14 million 5 hundred thousand hits! Try “parenting author” you get a mere 18 million 6 hundred thousand. Forgive me if I sound a bit jaded but I have an unusual perspective. Yes I am an at home dad, of quadruplets plus three. Yep, teens to toddlers with 40 acres, 8 dogs, 8 horses, a smattering of cattle and Lord knows how many cats (all spayed or neutered).

Now I am not alone here in the mega dad pool, Brian Reid http://www.rebeldad.com/, Dennis Ross http://www.iparenting.com/dad/0702.htmhttp://personalweb.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=personalweb&cdn=compute&tm=191&gps=219_383_1020_567&f=10&su=p284.9.336.ip_p504.1.336.ip_&tt=11&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//quads9.homestead.com/ and maybe a few more deserve some acclaim for having made it through the challenge of a domestic male in the middle of mega multiples and more. I believe myself, Mr. Reid, Mr. Ross and many amazing everyday at-home dads, at-home-moms and just regular moms and dads, grandparents and a myriad of steps all have one thing in common. Our priority and focus is on our kids. Not so much the next round of “Dancing With the Stars”, finding a spot on the “Today Show”, revamping our failed “shows” to keep cashing in on Cable TV’s big-top sideshow revue.

People who parent as a priority, not a profession, let alone as a media personality are the greatest asset our kids and culture have. Some simply prioritize family in an effort to recreate the warm healthy home they flourished in. Others purpose not to recreate the disruptions and confusion of a home life broken, bruised, confused yet overcome. Still more are a little lost having no healthy template to go by and circumstances out of their control. In some of those 14 million 5 hundred thousand hits for “parenting books” there is actually some really good stuff but the real help is closer to you than cyberspace or Books-A-Near-Billion.

Clubs and organizations are out there but they are only as great as the successful parents in them. Those that are making it happen and doing it well must reach out and share their victories, wisdom, heart and purpose. Daddys Home http://www.daddyshome.com/, Mothers of Preschoolershttp://www.mops.org/ , Mothers of Multipleshttp://www.mothersofmultiples.com/, Parents without Partners http://www.parentswithoutpartners.org/ and many others are great resources but it is the personal connections, friendships and outreach they offer that can make the difference.

So as summer brings us the promise of refurbishes and reruns of somewhat entertaining yet potentially destructive, exploitive and dysfunctional “family” entertainment check around for some real relational space you might share with a real family that deserves some help. Offer to baby-sit, call to include or strike up a casual affirming conversation. You do not need to write a book or give a sermon, just set some examples and offer a sincere hand.  Your real life connection and caring might mute some of the noise our cash-in culture keep blaring like a crazed carnival barker. Near desperate to promote their half-baked household cabarets with their highly lucrative commercials and freaky future episode promos that keep all three rings roaring along.

Mike Poff