The Gospel Herald was given the opportunity to speak with Missy Robertson this afternoon, and we asked her a few questions about marriage, her family's faith, and the Robertsons' work with the Mia Moo Fund for children with cleft lips and palates.
Can you first share a little bit about your testimony - how you came to know Christ?
Well, I grew up in a preacher's home, so I knew the facts about Jesus and what He did for "the world" all through my childhood, but then later on I realized - hey, He did that for me, personally. So when I heard that message, I submitted to it and I've been a Christian for probably about thirty years.
I read that you and Jase were married quite young, and you both seemed pretty committed in your faith. How has knowing the Lord helped to shape your marriage?
Well, we've been married for 23 years, and just like any marriage, it's not perfect - it has its ups and downs - and honestly, I can't imagine our marriage being what it is today without the Lord being at the center of it. We decided to make Him the center before we even got serious - [Jase] told me basically on the second or third date not to worry about anything, because he wasn't going to touch me. I said, 'Good thing, because I wouldn't respond.' So we decided to make that a goal in our relationship, to help each other with that - and then, of course as it got more serious we realized it could be a possibility that we'd be spending the rest of our lives together, and we made a commitment to each other on a spiritual basis, and we always have.
You seem to have three wonderful children, and I was so impressed that little Mia shared her favorite Bible verse in the season finale a few months ago. How do you and Jase encourage your children to walk with the Lord?
We try to make it a daily part of our lives. It's not just 'Go to church on Sunday and on Wednesday, if you're not too busy or not too tired.' A lot of families that we know of do that, and then they're surprised when their children don't choose to live like Jesus wants them to - you know, it's not integrated into their lives on a daily basis.
We're not perfect parents at all, and we're not perfect people - but we really try to let our kids know that every single day we get up and we try our best to live for the Lord, and every decision that we make, we try to make it from a spiritual point of view. We don't always succeed because of our selfishness, and selfish desires sometimes get in the way, but I think our kids know - if you asked them - beyond a shadow of a doubt, they would tell you that their parents try to walk with the Lord every day. I think that is the main reason - because we are human and we mess up, we make mistakes - but we also understand that, and we know that we're nothing without Jesus. I think we relay that to the kids, and they see that and appreciate that.
I think it's important for them to understand that you have to be the same on Monday as you are on Sunday, and the same on Saturday night as you are going to be the next morning at church. I think that's the main thing - just to be real, really real to your kids. That's not just a cliché, but really try to do it.
I think it's wonderful that you're raising awareness for cleft palates through the Mia Moo Fund. Can you explain to me a little bit more about the treatment options that are available for children who have cleft lip and palates?
Our goal for the Mia Moo Fund is to help parents with expenses regarding getting the best care for their child. Say, for instance, they have two choices - one is halfway across the nation and they feel that is the best option for their child because sometimes a lot of these children are born with varying degrees of clefts, and then also there are syndromes associated a lot of times with cleft lip and palate. So each child is different, there's not just the same diagnosis for each child, and so there are specialists all over the country that deal with certain syndromes that accompany clefts, or clefts themselves, just different things - and so we want to make sure that the parents have the information that they need in order to make the best decision for their child.
We would like it to be where we have enough money in this fund and foundation where these parents don't have to make the decision based on their financial arrangements. So if the doctor that they think is best for their child is three states away and they don't have the money to get there, and their insurance only covers a portion of it, then hopefully we're able to say that if that's the best thing for your child, and that's what you think as a parent, then hopefully we can supplement and help that parent make that best decision. We never ever want a parent to say, 'Well, the local doctor takes our insurance and we don't have to spend any money to travel, so we're just going to go with them.' If that's the best doctor for them, great - but that's pretty rare, I would say.
We just want to be able to alleviate the stress of the financial situation because personally, it was very stressful for us. We didn't have money when Mia was born - we were living paycheck to paycheck and I was working as well and trying to make ends meet. The best doctor for her, we felt, was four and a half hours away, and they didn't take our insurance so we decided to take a leap of faith and do what we thought was best for our child regardless of the money, and it was very stressful for a few years trying to pay off that debt. So we would like to alleviate that stress for these families.
As you raise more awareness, how are you encouraging people to help support children with cleft palates?
We have a couple of items on the website - we're pretty new in getting the website up and going. When we found out that A&E had agreed to do the season finale around Mia's surgery, we just got all excited about what we could do in terms of millions of people actually seeing that, so that's when we decided to try to really push hard and try to get this website up and going so people would be aware of it. Right now, I think we just have a couple of items on there - some t-shirts and a song that they can download - but we have three or four different things in the works right now for people to be able to contribute to, be a part of, or some products that they can buy to help spread awareness and benefit the foundation. Hopefully in the next three to four months, there will be a lot more going on with Mia Moo.
Does Mia hope to continue to raise awareness for this in the future? What does she want to be or do when she grows up?
No, she hasn't really talked about what she wants to do when she grows up - she is full of life right now and is really just having fun being herself and being a kid. She's only ten, so there's no pressure on her to have to make any kinds of those decisions right now. So we're just enjoying her, and she's enjoying life!
What message does your family hope to share through Duck Dynasty?
Oh goodness, [the message] about Jesus and His love for us, and Him wanting us to be with Him in eternity forever. That's the only true message that there is really in life, everything else kind of points to that.
We got a little bit of flak from Christians when we first came out on the air with "Duck Dynasty" because a lot of people knew we were Christians and they expected a lot of preaching on that show, and were very critical and disappointed with us when we didn't give them what they expected. I was disappointed in their reaction, too, because we're not on TV to preach to the choir - we're not on TV to encourage Christians to stay the course. We feel like our calling was to appeal to the world in order for them to be introduced to Jesus - to make it appealing for them to seek Him out, and I think that's what we've done.
I'm very proud of our family and how we've come across on the show. I feel like we really relate to middle-America - everybody likes to laugh, everybody likes to have a cohesive family, that's what they want. The media for so long tried to sell dysfunctional as the way to go and as the funny way to live, and there's a lot of pain and suffering in dysfunction that's not shown in the 30 minute episode that is a sitcom on TV. I think that we really appeal to what people want out of life, and that is true relationship and true love and forgiveness from one another, while you're also having a great time in this life that God provided for us. He gave us this life as a gift! And then, of course, our ultimate goal is to point people to Jesus so that they can understand His love for them as the ultimate relationship.