Last week I got to sit and chat with Jewel Tankard, reality TV Star of Thicker Than Water, and wife of Gospel Jazz musician, Ben Tankard. Check out the interview below as she talks about the show, marriage, how they deal with a blended family, and more!
BMWK: For those that may not be familiar with Thicker Than Water, can you share what the show is all about?
Jewell: We deal with real life family issues that I think are extremely relatable. We’ve all achieved success and are very strong believers in leadership development and becoming entrepreneurs, and pushing our children to become entrepreneurs. It doesn’t matter what economic, race or religious background you’re from. There are some things that are foundational for families period. That’s what’s made the show successful – we’ve been very transparent and authentic about some of the strongest challenges we’ve had.
It’s in your weakest moments that breathe a lot of strength and give hope to families at large that they’re not by themselves. There’s not a whole lot of differences between blended and biologic families, there are a lot of the same issues within both of those dynamics. We’ve been able to reach both. It’s very relatable, funny on a lot of levels, and there’s a lot of love. The lesson of the show is, family is family. You’re not by yourself, regardless of the differences.
BMWK: What are some tips you can share to those who are new to being in a blended family or working through challenges that come with blending your family together?
Jewell: It’s so important that you and your spouse get on the same page. Even with Ben and I, with all the challenges that we had when we first got married, he did a phenomenal job as a man, and as a husband really leading. He said, “First of all, we’re not doing the whole ‘step’ piece”. I think we worked really hard to build a strong unit. There were times, of course because we’re human beings, that it didn’t work out the way we wanted. But because we were on the same page, we were never really torn for the most part, about decisions we needed to make as far as the children were concerned. We talked about it before we got married.
BMWK: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a family and how did you get through it?
Jewell: It was probably when the children were growing up. We had different ideas than their biological mom, who loves them very much, in terms of how we should raise them. Sometimes we thought she gave too much freedom, and sometimes she thought we were too strict. It made it challenging when they came to our house when we tried to lay down certain ground rules, and they looked at us sideways.
BMWK: How do you juggle all of your obligations, and still remain as close as you are as a family?
Jewell: I definitely won’t act like we have the formula cause we’re figuring it out as we go. But it’s by the grace of God. Ben and I try to travel together at least 80-90% of the time. And then we both have home offices set up at the house so that really helps. As far as the children go, this week I was in DC with Cyrene. But in a couple days we’ll be in LA with Brooklyn. When we get back on Sunday, we’ll try to do a family dinner together. Then we have a family conference coming up in April at our church that all of our children will be speaking at. We may not be able to spend all the time with everyone at the same time because everyone is traveling, but we’ll work things out.