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06 June

Pastors’ Kids are Still Just Kids

Finally! Our three-year-old was old enough to sing in the preschool children’s choir. She was so excited; we were so proud. Sure, it was “Jesus Loves Me” (or something similar), and sure, every church kid ever has done the same thing. But this was our child: our cute, sweet, well-behaved little girl. I put her in her best dress and made sure her pigtails were even for her big debut.

There were probably six children lined up on one side of the stage. Between stage fright, general shyness, and the regular confusion of a three-year-old, we couldn’t hear them over the accompaniment track. My child, however, was not contributing to the singing anyway. Why? Because she was PICKING HER NOSE! Yes. Right there in front of everyone, my cute little girl, the daughter of a paid minister, decided it was the right time to clean out her nose rather than singing the song for which she had practiced so long!

I was mortified.

Looking back more than ten years, I realize it could have been much worse. We laugh about it now, and I tease her occasionally just before she goes on stage. But in that moment, all the pressure of being a minister’s wife and raising my children as role models for the rest of the congregation bore down on my shoulders like one of those harnesses used to pull a semi-truck in a strongman contest.

When it was all over and the beet color drained from my face, I had a few options about how to respond. I can’t remember the sermon that morning, but I do remember the things I told myself over the next few days. Perhaps you need to hear them too:
  1. My child will act like every other child because she is like every other child: a sinner in need of saving grace. And children do childish things. It’s part of the package.
  2. I am not responsible for every action of my child, whether I’m a first-time visitor or the head pastor’s wife.
  3. My friends at church accept me and my child as regular human beings. In fact, they accept us more readily than I accept us.
  4. Another mother in the congregation may have needed to see her child wasn’t the only one prone to gross and inappropriate actions. I hope that mother was comforted in my embarrassment.
  5. If someone judges me for the childish action of my child, that’s not my problem.

So what did I do? There was no discipline for my daughter because I had never told her not to pick her nose on stage. I simply explained that it’s not nice to pick your nose in front of other people, especially when they’re all looking at you.

She got over it quickly. Me? As you can see, I’m still recovering.

Question for Reflection: How do your expectations for your children differ from those of “regular” church members? Should your expectations differ?

Dear #pastorswives, don’t be surprised when your #pastorskid acts like a regular kid. From @pwconnect via @CaroleSparks (Click to Tweet)

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