Gil Bates, the father of the stars featured in the reality television series "Bringing Up Bates" recently talked about how his unusually large family came to be. In addition, he also explained how he and his family decided to do a television show about their daily lives.
Of course, the concept of a television family having 19 kids is not new in the entertainment industry. Before the Bates came along, this genre was owned by the Duggars of "19 Kids and Counting."
Although the Bates have already discussed how they're different from the Duggars, there's probably one thing that these two families share in, and that's their deep spiritual relationship with God.
As noted by Gil, he and his wife Kelly Jo never planned on having 19 kids when they first got married almost 30 years ago. Like most couples, they probably wanted to maintain a mid-size family.
But then, according to Gil, he and his wife began reading up on the Bible to learn about God's teachings about children. They then realized that a child is a blessing from God. And, like all blessings, children should not be considered as a hindrance.
"I remember someone said, 'If God told you He was going to give you a blessing, and it was $100 bills, how many blessings would you want?'" Gil told the Christian Examiner during an interview. "The answer is a truckload. But if you turn it to children, well, you say, 'I don't know if I can handle that.'"
"God really began working on our heart, to [change] our heart's attitude," he added.
With that mindset, and the teaching of their faith, Gil and Kelly Jo decided not to use any birth control methods and just let nature take its course. Eventually, this then led to the births of their 19 children.
Due to the unusual size of their family, they were eventually approached by television network Up TV about doing a reality show. At first, they were a bit hesitant about the idea because of the potential effects on their children.
But then, after discussing it as a family, the Bates decided to do the show as long as the producers will allow them to be themselves. For Gil, the show "Bringing Up Bates" is his way of showing the world the lives of a conservative Christian family.
"For us it is a ministry, because we see it as, 'This is how we have sought the Lord and how we think He'd like us to raise our family,'" he said. "We certainly don't have it all together."
"We have the same challenges everybody has, but I think trying to keep Christ first and trying to keep harmony with your husband and wife and harmony with your children is one of the most valuable and lasting benefits you will ever have," he added.