If We Could Have a Do-Over with our Children
If you could have a do-over in raising our children what would you do differently? I posed this question to my wife recently while thinking about faith development, ministry and several younger ministers I know. Being raised as a “PK” (preachers kid) is not easy and every child handles it differently. Some resent it and struggle greatly with their own identity. Other children, embrace it and get out of adolescence unscathed, for the most part. Here are a few things that we would differently.
PRESENCE: Be fully present. I often struggled to turn work mode off. Way too many times, my children had to work to get my attention and break through the book/computer/television barrier. Or, the infamous stopping by to make a hospital visit on the way to dinner with the family. It always took longer than I told them.
PLAY: Spend more time cultivating playfulness. Do fun things, particularly in nature is essential to reducing tension and providing balance to the seriousness of ministry.
PRAY: Be more vulnerable about our desires for them and our needs (age appropriate, of course). This is critical for faith development and genuine faith expressed at home.
POLITICS: Protect them from “church politics” conversations. These conversations sew seeds of discouragement, worry and even cynicism.
PRIORITY: Say “Yes” to being with family and “No” to the the chronically needy and unhappy church members who took up way too much of my time. In essence, practice better boundaries.
We did our best to allow the kids to be simply kids without playing the preacher card (i.e., ”You must do ____________ because Dad is the preacher.” This is not to say they didn’t feel it or experience it from others.
Ministry can be hazardous to your family. It’s no secret that marriage and family needs, demands and realities are some of the main reasons preachers quit preaching. Also, in the top five is unrealistic expectations, lack of leadership support and finances. Regardless, preachers do not have to be victims. We can make good choices.
What would you include on the list?