I am starting a series on the “Worst Things of Being a Pastor’s Kid” and it’s motivated by the frustration that I have being a PK.
I am not sure if this is the worst one of being the pastor’s kid but this one is definitely up there and really impact my life, especially my church life and the relationship between my church mates and I.
One of the worst things of being a pastor’s kid is the attention, high-expectation, critique as well as having everybody in the congregation think that your life and the decisions you make is their business as well. I call it the Spotlight problem.
Lack of Privacy
This is a thing that I have been dealing with ever since my early teenage year. Being the pastor’s kid, especially the head pastor’s kid is like being the first family or like the royal family. Your personal business becomes everybody’s in the congregation so there is certain lack of privacy. What you do at church, decisions you made become part of the public domain. I often get shocked how things I only told a few became public knowledge.
That’s a lot of pressure and stress which my siblings and I had to deal with growing up. And being church, some people, usually a very small number of people would use whatever tiny faults to their advantage. It was better when I had friends who grew up with me at the same church who knew me well. But when I went to different churches following my father’s work at different churches, it got a bit worst because I no longer had these friends would protect me. At church, there will always be people who are against the pastor and they could pick up on every little things on the whole pastor family if they wanted to.
In some ways, pastor’s kid have to be role model, perfect, without fault. Growing up as a teenager and even as a young adult, I have often felt this pressure and stress to be as ideal as possible to protect my father’s ministry and reputation. Usually it’s okay but there are times when my siblings and I would get criticized for just being who we are or very minor things.
The thing is that pastor’s kids are often put into the “spotlight” although unlike our parent(s), we never made the decision or had the calling to be “pastor’s kid.” We never had a choice, we were born into it. I am not not saying being a PK is the worst thing ever but it does come with some inconvenience and cost which we, PKs can not control.
People often asked much more from us than from themselves which I find unfair. If I miss a small group meeting, even if very good legitimate reason, I get criticized. If I am late for a meeting, I get criticized while others might not. It seems like PK don’t get to have excuses while everybody else do.
I find it very unfair that while other small group members miss small group meeting even without explanation, they don’t get criticized. They get extra care and tenderness. I just get an extra dosage whatever imperfection I show. It’s a double-standard, an unfair double-standard. And the worst thing is, it gets circulated around the church.
Perhaps something good from the Spotlight as well
As a PK, I never asked for this. However there is some good in it, the attention can also be used for good but a lot of it has to do with the environment and situation. If the environment is friendly, you can do a lot of good with you attention. People do look up to you, some would trust you more and there are some perks in every everybody knowing who you are. Opportunities were often available to serve because everybody knows you and would think of you. You don’t have to make too many introduction. The assumption of people thinking that you know the whole Bible by heart sometimes come in handy as well and give you a little enhanced authority.