As you know, I’m a pastor’s wife, so as my husband and I began to have children 4 years ago, a well-known saying kept coming to mind: Preachers’ kids are the worst.
And of course, this is horrifying to think about if you’re a pastor’s wife because, oh my goodness… I don’t want my kids to be the worst! I have so many dreams for my boys, and being the worst is not on the list.
So where does this saying come from? Is it true?
The Tendency Does Exist
Though I don’t believe all pastors’ kids turn out to be the wildest of the bunch, you do see that our culture notices the tendency. Movies like Foot Loose pick up on it, as well as a show I recently heard about on Lifetime called Preacher’s Daughters. It chronicles the lives and temptations of 9 PKs (pastor’s kids.) And it looks pretty outrageous.
I think there is probably something unique and hard about being the child of a pastor that might exacerbate the temptation to rebel. For example:
- I wonder how many PKs have unrealistic expectations placed on them by church members that they can never measure up to, so they quit trying.
- Or maybe some PKs are just wanting to find an identity for themselves apart from their parents in the ministry.
- Perhaps some PKs are looking for a way to remove themselves from the pressure and spotlight of being known as the pastor’s child.
As I look around at my own friends who grew up with dads as pastors, most have not lived up to the saying. Two of the bridesmaids in my wedding were PKs. Now they’re both married to full-time pastors and each are pursuing their own forms of ministries.
I see others who are older than me in ministry who are making a difference in the world, only to find out that they, too, grew up as PKs. And I wonder if their mothers wrote books on this stuff so I can learn from them.
How did they do it? How did they raise their children to embrace the faith as their own?
I think much of it has to do with their authenticity. Their walk matched their talk.
The Power of Authenticity
Though Brent and I certainly don’t have it figured out yet, the one thing we do know is that as parents, we have massive influence over our children. The sheer amount of time spent with our kids lends itself to this. What will they observe in us during all that time?
Will they mostly see in us habits of authenticity or the habits of hypocrisy?
Hypocrisy occurs when we say we trust God, but our kids rarely hear us pray.
Hypocrisy occurs when we say we love God’s Word, but our kids rarely see us reading the Bible.
Hypocrisy occurs when we say we love God’s people, but our kids hear us speak critically of others.
Hypocrisy is so damaging to our children, friends. It basically says to our kids that this Jesus-life we espouse isn’t real. It effects our life in such small, minimal ways that it must have very little value. Who would want to be a part of something so tainted? It’s easy to see why our kids (or anyone else) wouldn’t choose Jesus if this is the way we habitually live.
Authenticity, on the other hand, looks a little different.
Authenticity occurs when we say God is real, and our kids hear us talk to Him like He’s right there with us.
Authenticity occurs when we say God is powerful, and our kids see Him changing us to become more patient and loving.
Authenticity occurs when we say Jesus forgives sin, and our kids see us forgiving each other daily.
This might sound obvious, but our authenticity authenticates the gospel. When we genuinely live out what we say we believe, our actions and habits validate the truth of Jesus before our children’s very eyes. Over time, our kids will see that Jesus is real. They will see the difference He’s made in our lives, day in and day out. What could be more powerful than this, other than the gospel itself?
Moms, I want to encourage you- you can do this. God can use you to be a huge influence for good in your darlings’ lives. But you must abide in Jesus. You must remain in Him. Stay connected to Him. John 15 has so much to say about this. Let’s cling to Him so we can powerfully authenticate the gospel with our lives before our children. As always, I’d love to hear from you about your struggles with this or victories! Feel free to leave a comment below or send me a message on my Contact page.