I have debated many times through the years about this post, do I type it? Do I keep it to myself? Am I just looking for an excuse? However, recently I was reminded in a couple of different ways that people need to hear this - they need to see us as transparent and real so here it is.
Preacher's Kids, Minister's Kids, PKs, etc - Call em what you want but they exist! They are in the church, in the schools, in the community. Yes - they have a different life in some ways than the average kid. They are often the first to the church on Sunday and the last to leave, they are at almost every church event, they are often made to go to every youth event whether they want to or not. Many times, they have had to adjust to new schools, new towns, new churches so often they have lost count...And - they live in a fish bowl with anywhere from 100 to 500 or more people watching, observing, seeing if they will behave "appropriately".
Here's the deal - THEY ARE STILL KIDS! There, I said it - they aren't fully grown, they aren't adults, they are still learning and growing and making mistakes just like any other kid. Recently, in talking with a woman about an incident that occurred involving some youth in her community, one of which happened to be a pastor's son she made the statement "I was like come on Preacher boy - tell me the truth." So, what's the problem? Should he tell the truth - Yes, absolutely! Should he tell the truth simply because he is a pastor's son? Um....no. Telling the truth is an attribute we want in all kids - especially Christian young people but don't call him out simply because of his father's profession!
Another example, in ministry we often get "anonymous letters" from people that feel it is there job to not only tell us how to improve in ministry, but also how we should discipline, raise our kids, etc. Disclaimer - most of the time we do not read these said letters, they go directly to the trash - why? Because if you can't come to me in love and express your concerns in person then they have no validity - the Bible is clear about how to go to others. Anyway - back to the letters. This particular time, I opened it completely by accident. In it my children were accused of the standard things - you know, sitting in the balcony off to themselves, talking, running in the church, etc. Again - should my kids run in the church - um no, but should yours? Should my kids talk in church - of course not, but have yours ever done that? Do you see what I am getting at? Of course they make mistakes, of course I need to correct, guide and discipline them - but so should every other Christian parent and we need to do it with grace, love and compassion.
Let me tell you something you may or may not realize about minister's kids - they didn't choose their life. God didn't call them into ministry - although He may one day. The Bible does have clear standards for overseers and leaders in the church. I Timothy 3 outlines the requirements for minister's, servants, and leaders of the church. It does say that they are to be "attentive to their children" YES - we need to discipline, guide, direct, nurture our kids and yes as leaders we are to lead by example in this area but it doesn't say that our kids won't mess up. It isn't what our kids do but rather how WE as parents handle it that is the issue here.
So, why write this? Is for my own kids sake? No, although that would be an awesome side effect - my kids have been there, done that, got the t-shirt. They have taken the hits, worked through them and moved on. I am writing this so that others might be encouraged to look at the minister's kids in their churches through a different lens - one that sees them as kids that are learning. I am writing it so that minister's families can be encouraged to take a breath and not feel the pressure of having to have perfect kids. I am writing for those who are just beginning the life of ministry to know that it is really ok if your kids mess up...
Side Note: Not too long ago I connected via Facebook with a Coach's wife. As we began comparing life and stories we realized that coach's kids, teacher's kids, and minister's kids live similar lives - all eyes are on them. So extend a little grace to these kiddos too!