Sunday, October 5, 2008

Why do preacher's kids rebel?

A few people have asked me to write about being a PK. I've found it so hard to do this. You see, as a PK you just naturally protect your family no matter what is going wrong. You see so many attacks from others on your family that you feel like somehow it is your job to protect them. Then you get tired of doing it. Then you get angry that you have to do it at all.

I don't know that my family was the typical preacher's family. At least I don't want to think it is so. I realize that preachers and their wives are human and make mistakes.

Our home was not a place of love. It was not a soft place to land. It was a facade. We were expected to obey. To put up a good front for those in the congregation. We also traveled to another church and did the music ministry. So many people looked up to my parents. My sister and I knew what others saw wasn't what we saw behind closed doors. I think this is why my sister and I rebelled and suffered in our own lives. Thankfully, I found the Lord on my own. My sister has not.

My mother ruled our home. Whatever she said needed to be done was done. My father never questioned her. Even when what she was doing was wrong. He never stood up to her. Discipline wasn't done correctly in our home. What we suffered at the hands of our parents was undoubtedly abuse. I am quite convinced that my mother suffered from mental illness. At least I hope that was it. The one person that should have stood between her and my sister and I, failed us miserably.

I have struggled with being a good parent myself. It is hard to be a good parent when it has not been modeled for you. God has modeled good parenting for me right in the Bible and I am learning from His example. It would have been so much easier if it had been modeled by my parents.

May I humbly offer some advice as a Preacher's Kid to those in ministry.

  • Ask God to help you be a good parent. Know that God has given you your children as your primary ministry. That means that sometime church work will go undone in order to spend time with your kids.

  • Hug your child. Tell them you love them and are proud of them. Hug them again.

  • Admit your mistakes to your children and others. Tell them the stupid bonehead things you did in your life and how God helped you overcome it. You are not perfect. You are not fooling anyone by pretending to be. If you don't, it could have devastating consequences. Kids think that God will not love them or forgive them because YOU never did anything stupid like they did. They will respect you for being honest and human.

  • Be the same at home and in public. Be careful you aren't putting on a "mask" when you leave the house (I'm struggling with this one).

  • Realize that it puts a lot of pressure on a kid to be the one everyone looks at all the time as the example. Many are rooting for them to fail. Talk to them about this pressure.

  • When you kids mess up (oh, and they will by the way), let them know they are still loved and precious.
I guess that is good advice for any parent, but please understand that PK's grow up under the microscope of a congregation and problems are magnified many times over. We feel the pressure to live up to a standard whether it is told to us or not. Satan also takes a special pleasure in messing with PK's. I feel a special empathy for PK's. Many rebel because they can't live up to the pressure. Some rebel because they see the different "masks" as hypocrisy.

I hope this gives you a little insight into the life of a PK. Pray for your pastor's kids. Pray for your pastor and his wife. If you are a preacher, make sure your kid isn't the one to write a blog on the problems of being a PK.


Mrs. Huse Clifton said...

I really want to be a missionary or a preacher but never thought about my children as they would be under a microscope. i am glad that you shared with us. Do you have a relationship with them now? Have a wonderful day!

Frazzled Mom said...

If God has called you to be a missionary or preacher, then you should not ignore the calling. Just be aware that your children are in the middle of all of it too. Take special steps to protect them.

Sadly I tried for years after I was married to have a relationship with them, but it never worked. Here is a little history: My parent's threw me out of the house one month before I was to graduate from our local vocational school as a Legal Secretary. They wouldn't give me any reason and I have never understood why. My father only said coldly "Your mother wants you out in 2 weeks." I had worked very hard in school and only received a partial diploma because the president of the school had mercy on me and my situation. I had to scramble to find some place to live. It was a gut-wrenching time.

That is another story for another day. Needless to say, it put a huge strain on our relationship. I worked on forgiveness. I even got married in their house. I would visit them when I went to town. I always ended up sobbing all the way home. It was so painful. My parents continued to treat me badly even as a married woman with children. One day I realized that forgiving them didn't mean sitting under their abuse anymore. Cutting off this relationship has been the healthiest thing I could have done for myself. Why do people think they have to continue these abusive relationships because the person is related to them? While they are my parents, I try to be respectful of them. They did do some things right. That's why this article was so hard to write. Believe me, this article is as respective as it could be. There is soooo much more that could have been written.

Renae said...

This must have been difficult to write, but I've heard of others who have experienced such things. In fact, I think this same scenario happened in the church I grew up in.

It is so tragic. And I'm thankful for God's grace. I will be praying for your sister.

Anonymous said...

I was also raised in a ministers home. Sometimes I did feel like I existed in a fish bowl. But thankfully, I did not have to suffer in the way you did. Most of the situations of abuse that we encountered involved people who did not claim to know Christ.

I did know other young people that had very hard lives because of the callous and cruel treatment of their so called "religious" parents. That kind of hypocrisy leaves a very bitter taste to the hearts of those unfortunate children. Those people are wolves in sheeps clothing. Trying to tarnish the reputation of true saints of God.

Our family took in and helped more than one young person in such a situation. Now that I am an adult, my husband and I are always encouraging and helping children that are hurting emotionally.

You can be "religious" and put on a good show and still never, ever have a true understanding of the love of Jesus Christ. Those individuals are not truly children of a most loving Savior. They are simply living a cruel lie. Personally, I think it is the cruelest lie of all, because it betrays what Jesus really is. LOVE.

Your experiences, although painful, have probably made you into a very compassionate and understanding individual. You have suffered as Christ has suffered and you will be able to minister and help someone else along rough and rocky places in their life. Use it for the glory of our Lord Savior Jesus Christ.

Lindylou said...

Your testimony is powerful and so needed to be heard! Preacher Kids and Missionary Kids, the families, the generational line is a major target of Satan! What you felt, lived through, expereinced is very common...although it comes in so many different packages. One thing that ring through most is that Satan found a way to get into the home and destroy the family (on the inside) even if it could not be seen on the outsdie.

I have heard countless testimonies similar to yours. I am at the point now when I hear of family being torn, abused, beaten up...I ask for the lineage of missionaries and pastors in the mother and family. Oh, so often it can be traced to the exact point where Satan got a foothold in and thought he brought the godly seed down. But I love victory stories for Jesus, and it is great joy in my heart to see Jesus shining bright in you and that your family is bring back the godly seed that Satan was determined to destroy. Rejoice! You heard Jesus and you answered! You bring Him great joy as you raise your children in His truth and love!

I need to go hug my children again.

Anonymous said...

It was painful as a child to hear people that I did not know call me "the worst kind". It was even more painful to grow up knowing that I was not going to measure up. My prayers were never good enough, the church talk that was popular at the time I could not understand. You had to be "washed in the blood of the lamb". You had to "drink from the well of life". I did not know anyone who had a lamb everyone had running water.

Life was very confusing for me back in those days. When I got into my teenage years I was expected to know the scriptures, sing in the choir, listen to the problems of the parishioners, and have prayers that were angelic in nature. I wanted to be the best I could because if I failed I would have no where to go. I wanted to be good at what I did because I felt that my families future depended on my feeble attempts be "holy".

I remember cleaning the parsonage as a young boy and keeping the yard mowed before Sunday. The parsonage had to be well kept when people came to visit. All appearances had to be perfect despite the feelings that were hidden deep inside.

I attend services now at a church where the priests are not allowed to have families. When people learn that I am a preachers kid they do not judge me. Since I am not confirmed I do not have to know anything. I am not expected to be an expert on Christian theology. It is like being in heaven!

I pray for the children across the world that are going through the pains of living in a glass house with no one to share the pain of having to be perfect and holy at all times. Church for them is not a place of peace and comfort but a place of pain and heartache.

Frazzled Mom said...

I don't normally post anonymous comments, but I felt the one above was real and genuine. I pray dear friend that you will come to know that we can never be good enough for Jesus. He loves us just as we are. We can come to him just as we are and we don't have to "clean up" to know him. Our attempts to be "holy" don't get us closer to him. Our attempts to know him more do.


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