Even before the full-time gig, I was still technically a PK as far as the rest of the church was concerned. Part-time or otherwise, he was still the worship pastor, so I could really back up to the age of 10.
Ah, yes. The middle school years.
Not at all an awkward time for anyone, certainly not for me.
Business in front, party in back, indeed.
I'm definitely playing drums and wearing tie-dye.
This is shortly after I realized I had a mullet, and began working tirelessly to remedy my tragic 'do.
So, as an extremely cool and together middle school preteen, I found myself with, let's just say a lot of hormones, complete with sudden outbursts of random emotions. Mostly tears.
And, of course poofy hair-sprayed bangs.
Throw on top of that this sparkly new label of 'PK'.
There were definitely perks to my dad being on staff, but I also struggled with the pressure. I felt like people expected more of me because my dad was a professional Christian. Except that he was the one on staff. Not me.
I read a fantastic quote the other day regarding the subject of church members holding the pastors' kids at a higher standard than other kids:
"The same standard, if applied to other children in the church, would expect plumbers' kids to show part of their backside, carpenters' kids to be able to cut a board straight, advertising execs' kids to have a quick wit or pun on their lips for any situation, bankers' kids to treat everyone like a customer, grocers' kids to ask everyone if they need any help, car salesmen's' kids to know how to close the deal, and the weatherman's kids to know to stay in out of the rain."
Perfectly put. So why are preachers' kids held to a higher standard? Or maybe they're not. The pendulum has a tendency with some people to swing to the other extreme. PK's are rebellious, promiscuous troublemakers. One way or the other, we're pigeon-holed. Why the stereotypes? Why can't children of pastors be normal kids?
I think about this as my kids get older. Right now they're 7 and 9, so other than thinking they own the church, they behave as any other kid would. I wonder if this will change. I wonder if, when they become all hormonal and angst-y and hyper-sensitive, if they'll have a different opinion of the church. Will they feel judged? Put upon? Pressure to act a certain way?
I hope not.
I was recently reading a blog by Thom S. Rainer, the president and CEO of Lifeway. He compiled this list, based on his research, of 7 things pastors wished they could tell their church regarding their kids. The bold is a general statement, and it's followed by a comment he received from one of the many people who shared the sentiment.
1. Don't expect more out of pastors' kids than any other kids. "My children need to have the same
expectations as the other children in the church. They are not some kind of spiritual rockstars because their dad's a pastor."
2. Please offer encouragement to my children. "It's not always easy to be a pastor's kid. The glass
house thing is real. I am so thankful for the church members who go out of their way to encourage
3. Realize that they are kids. "I know a few church members who seem to think my kids are
miniature adults. They expect them to act like a 40 year old instead of a 4 year old."
4. Please don't call them "PKs." "Their identities should not be based on their father's vocation.
They have their own unique and special identities."
5. Please pray for my children. "I am blessed to have this one lady in my church who prays for my
three children every day. She knows the special challenges of being a pastor's kid."
6. Our kids see and hear more than you think. "After one particularly tough church business
meeting, me seven-year-old boy asked me if I was going to get fired."
7. Don't make me choose between my kids and the church. "Too many pastors' kids have grown up bitter and disillusioned about the church. Dad gave more attention to church members than his own children."
Another one that's my own personal addition to this list would be:
Don't cover for my kids just because they're PKs. Let me know when they misbehave. I don't want my kids to ever think they can get away with something inappropriate because they have the upper hand with their dad being on staff. But, I would ask that you first refer to numbers one and three above before making an informed decision. Mmmkay?
Are you a "PK"? Are you a pastor or a wife who has something to add to this list?
If you could share your heart with your church regarding your kids, what would you say?