We asked our adult Preacher Kids to think back to their feelings growing up in the ministry world. They gave voice to a young PK’s minds and emotions. Your child may not identify with all of their thoughts, but they might be a springboard for some interesting and helpful conversations!
1. You are a face in the community and so am I.
You can try to keep us from feeling like a PK all the time, but even at school when one of my teachers found out that my dad was in ministry he asked me, “So are you the good preacher’s kid or the bad preacher’s kid?” I looked at my teacher, smiled and said, “Neither.” Help me know that being a preacher’s kid is okay, but doesn’t define everything about me.
2. Help me navigate being around people who know me, but I don’t know them. Sometimes I didn’t know the people who said, “Tell your dad he preached a great sermon.” I just smiled and nodded. When I was younger, it felt like I was lying. Now that I’m older, I see how that experience helps me confidently engage in conversations with people.
3. Be a safe place for me to ask questions and process my emotions. It’s hard for me to articulate how I feel. In a spirit of “team,” parents should talk with their kids and help them to understand and verbalize their emotions. Ask specific questions like “How do you feel when people you don’t know come up and talk to you?”
4. You can say I am a “normal” kid but I don’t feel “normal.” We are at meetings early and stay late. That’s not “normal.” Encourage friendships with other staff kids my age; we have a lot in common.
5. I like the attention. AND, I don’t like the attention. Is that okay? Sometimes I like being the center of attention, and sometimes I feel like hiding.
6. I adopt the emotions you have toward others in church. If you like, I like them. If you dislike them, whenever I see them I think, “I know how my parents feel about you.”
7. I like doing ministry with you. Let me go with you to the nursing home, hospital, setting up for an event, etc. Let me see what you do and how you use your gifts. When you do that I feel valued, even though I roll my eyes and sigh….alot!
8. Sometimes Sundays are my least favorite days. Church is busy, then there are meetings (often at our house), then naptime, then dinner, sometimes kids and youth activities and then it was Monday. Carve out other times in the week when we have your undivided attention and teach us to take Sabbath, too (even if it’s not on Sunday.)
9. Let me see the fruit of your spiritual life at home, not just at church. You don’t have to be perfect for me. People may think you’re flawless, but you just yelled at me on the way to church. Show me how to apologize and how God is growing you.
10. Ask my permission to be a sermon illustration. Dad asked for my approval before being used as a sermon illustration. If I said “no,” he honored it. If I said “yes,” I admit, I felt somewhat special.
11. Mom, I need to see that you are invested in our church and ministry. I can tell by your words and actions if you respect Dad and his preaching, as well as being personally involved in our church.
Published March 10, 2014