Wuxiaworld > CHALLENGES OF PASTOR’S KID > 4 Chapter Three: UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

4 Chapter Three: UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS



One major challenge of the Pastor's Kid is having to live up to the unrealistic expectations from others. What actually makes life more difficult for him is not just the high expectations from his parents, but also from the church, and its immediate community. Pastors generally are expected to live a high moral standard life, but their kids are always required to live a higher standard because they are reflections of their parents.

Most church members do not want to easily accept that Preacher's Kids are humans, with their own personal struggles with sins, trials, and temptations, just like every other person in the congregation. A high number of them have so many unreasonable expectations and these always put the P.K. under unwarranted pressure. Worse still, these expectations are, most times, always about physical things and have almost nothing to do with their spirituality, neither does it affect their core Christian values.

Church members could be very irrational at times. They never realize the stress they make the Preacher's Kids (and their families) endure on a daily basis. They expect that being a Preacher's Kid, he should have no difficulty running his lives according to God's dictates and standard. Therefore, he is being watched and judged by anyone and everyone who has ever set his foot in the church his parent pastors. He must live up to some unattainable super-human level of spirituality because his life is often under the microscope on per-second-basis. He is expected to live worthy of his father's calling, and so is exposed to improper congregational scrutiny. He grows up amidst a plethora of plank-filled eyes focused directly on him, carefully searching for whatever tiny speck can be detected, or if need be, created, in his character and life.

Everyone is looking, to see what they can comment about him. So, he is always very careful about what he does and what he says around them. Anything he wants to say or do in the presence of anyone of the congregation is well thought of before it is said or done. Even at that, there is nothing he says or does that someone from the church would not raise an eyebrow or pass a comment about. His life is X-rayed by the minute. This creates a great discomfort for so many Pastors' Kids.

The attention that the Preacher's Kids receive from the people who their parents minister to in church would have been an encouraging one if it helps them to relate better with others in the church, but most times, it drives them further into their shelves. This attitude has created a tug of war in the hearts of most Pastors' Kids; this war is between the personality of Jesus that they read in the Bible and the personality of Jesus that some church members portray. The loving, caring and forgiving Jesus of the Bible could not be the same Jesus that the church paints more like a referee on a football field, whose major responsibility is to keep watching out for the mistakes of a Preacher's Kid in church, so as to create an avenue for them to be reprimanded.


DOUBLE STANDARDS

The truth is, the Preacher's Kid is always watched more carefully than other kids in the church. He does not have his own life as he is always in the public glare. There seems to be a different rule for the other kids in the church than the one he is being judged with. He discovers very early in life that he is held to a much higher standard than the rest of his age-mates, in the church, in the school, or in the community.

If he does or says anything contrary to What Jesus Would Do at any given opportunity, no matter how minute his actions are, they are archived for public records so that it can be used against him in the future. What most of his peers will do and get away with, and no one will wink an eye, he dares not do. If he does, he is chastised heavily for it. He is seen as a very special breed of Christian kid who is not allowed to do other normal things that an average believer of his age can venture into.

He is reminded from time to time to behave like a Preacher's Kid because he is one, but is rarely reminded that he is a Christian and should behave like one. It is commonplace to hear people say to him now and again, "You do not have to do that, your dad is a pastor", most especially on issues that his age-mates and peer groups get involved in frequently without even thinking about how anyone feels about their actions. It is such prohibition that always generates bitterness in most Pastors Kids at their early stage, and later into rebellion at a later stage in life.

Whether or not he wants to: he is automatically seen as a role model. He is held accountable when things happen amidst his group of friends and is punished more severely, because even at whatever age, he is to be their role models. He is expected to be the leader anytime he finds himself amidst his peers. He takes all the blame each time there is a fault but is allowed to take none of it each time there is a success. This kind of attitude has robbed so many Pastors' Kids of their childhood, teen age and their youth. They just became an adult overnight, or so it seems because that is what the people around them expect. Whether at 9, 19, 29, 39, or 49, a Preacher's Kid is expected to live like Jesus every waking moment of his life. He is never allowed to be a child, grow into a teen, and become a youth, then mature into an adult, savoring the excitements and fun of each stage all the way up. He is only expected to behave himself, any day, anytime, anywhere, as though he is a saint, regardless of his age. He is seen more like an angel than a teenager, and should he fail to appear as such at any point in time, he attracts serious criticism from respected people in the church.

Once in a while, he feels free whenever he is in the midst of his peers, but he is always quick to straighten up whenever he sees an adult in the congregation appears. This makes him appear to be living a double standard life, but what other options has he? Because of the expectations of people about him, he rarely can flow with the people of his age either in school, in the community or in the church. A countless number of times, his heart is torn between staying true to the faith and following his peers. He cannot live like his other peers because he is meant to be far more matured than they are because he is a Preacher's Kid. He also cannot flow with the older ones whose kind of lives he is expected to live and who know as much as he is expected to know, because they do not belong to the same generation. He hangs in between these two realms. He cannot flow well with the upper limit and cannot also mingle well with the lower limit.

If he is a well-behaved child, he becomes the moral standard or the spiritual thermometer by which all the other parents in church measure the morality and the spirituality of their children. From time to time, they chastise their wards, saying: "Can't you see the Pastor's son? He is so well behaved". This can create an unpronounced bitterness in the hearts of the other kids in church, and their bitterness is not directed against their parents who chastise them, but against the Preacher's Kid whose life is one of unattainable standards. They may not always show it, but if allowed to voice their minds, the bad boys in church would wish the Preacher's Kid is not as perfect so that their parents won't have the basis for comparison.

Whenever he is among such mates, it is always a period of trial for him. They intentionally want to seek him out to prove his worth as the Preacher's Kid through various kinds of temptations. They do things that are uncomely just to see how he will react so that they can remind him that he is a Preacher's Kid and also let their parents know that he is not as perfect as they think. They sometimes take him for granted and intentionally step on his toes from time to time, and expect him to "turn the other cheek" because he is a 'Jesus baby'.

THE OUTCOME, A PROFESSIONAL PHARISEE

This feeling that his life is on scrutiny everywhere he goes has constituted a whole lot of problems for so many Preachers' Kids. The real pressure is that the Preacher's Kid feels a greater responsibility by trying harder by the day to live by the principles which the people he finds around him per time believe to be right and just, irrespective of what he personally believes. The most painful part of it is that most of the people who take it as a duty upon themselves to dissect every inch of his life do not even live the life they are expecting him to live.

These unrealistic expectations placed on the Pastors' Kids will require an insane level of hypocrisy for him to meet up with half of them. Some of these Preacher's Kids have come to realize that they cannot meet the high standard set for them by the people around them. This conclusion is as a result of believing that their parents are closer to God than they are and so are unbelievably holy. After so much struggle to live up to man's expectation without appropriating the grace of God made available to ease their burden, remain at the same stage or level of imperfection, and most times, get discouraged.

Due to this intense pressure to be a perfect kid or to act as though he is one so that he will not disgrace his family and the church, the Preacher's Kid is compelled to attempt to live up to everyone's expectancy. This creates a silent battle in his heart, a battle between piety and promiscuity; between obedience and rebellion. For some people, the way out is to isolate themselves, while for others, it generates an inner conflict that lives with them for a long time.

This inner conflict can lead to one of two ends, the most common of which is to believe all of these things are framed up, they are not real, they are not possible since they have tried and their best is not yielding the expected result. So, they rebel against it. This is why so many Pastors' Kids are seen as rebels in their father's churches.

The second is to resign themselves to fate and conclude that God is not as interested in them as He is in their father. This makes them withdraw from people who may readily discover these human flaws in their lives and it becomes a personal struggle without the help of the Holy Spirit. Nobody knows what they go through besides God; it is well covered up with a smokescreen of uprightness and spirituality.

What this will make of a Preacher's Kid is just a Professional Pharisee. He begins to practice the same hypocrisy he feels he sees in the lives of the other members of the church. He lives the life that is expected of him whenever he is around the church or at home. Whenever he finds himself where neither his preacher-parents nor anyone who can identify him as a Preacher's Kid can locate him, he feels very free to live the way his mates live. Some Pastor's Kids have been able to play the part of the absolutely-perfect-Christian-life so well for so long that they are beginning to wonder if everyone is not playing the same game.

This hypocritical life that he learns from the church gives him a new definition of sin. Sin is no longer what makes God unhappy with him. Sin becomes what makes his parents and their religious members unhappy with him if they know about it, but as long as he can keep them away from knowing about it, he can still claim to have a clear conscience, at least before them, irrespective of what God feels about his actions.

He is quick to lose sight of who he really is because of these expectations and what he presents is only a facade. Most times the real him is buried in a graveyard in his heart and covered up with a brightly colored and very attractive tombstone which is presented as the 'him' that the people around him are comfortable with.

Pushing a Preacher's Kid to this stage is like planting a seed of rebellion in him and watering it every day, but still praying that it will not germinate. These expectations have led many Pastors' Kids into either withdrawing into themselves or living a double standard life. It has also led many into turning against the faith of their fathers. This is called the Preacher's Kid Syndrome.

A WORD OF CAUTION FOR THE PK

Much Is Expected Of You

The success of your father's ministry depends to an extent on you. Unknown to so many Pastors' Kids, their unconscious behavior in or outside the church building becomes a major determinant of their parents' suitability in ministry: "If he cannot successfully train his children whom he lives and

dines with every day to grow to become God-fearing, how will he teach ours whom he sees only on Sundays" they seem to say.

Since your father is the spiritual head and the moral instructor of your local assembly and one of his major responsibilities is teaching and leading others to do the will of God, many congregants assume that the moral values he teaches others will naturally reflect in the lives of his kids. When this expectation is not met, they are grossly disappointed in both the pastor and his kid.

Why are the expectations people have of the spirituality of the Preacher's Kids so high, irrespective of their ages? The answer is not farfetched. The pastors are presumably assumed to be the holiest Christians in any church (whether this is true or not, is left to heavens to judge). This argument may make some sense, considering the fact that they are the ones teaching others to become better Christians in the community and so should be able to display a high level of Christian parenting, and his children must also be able to satisfy any walk-on-water expectations without any difficulties.

This is why, to some extent, one can safely conclude that Pastors' Kids generally should be raised with stricter measures than all others. Everybody around you is aware of what your father preaches and what he stands for. Even if they do not know your preacher father personally, at least they know what the scriptures expect of a godly person. Being a Preacher's Kid, you are assumed to be a very godly person and should not do any of those things the Bible abhors, or at least engage in whatever they feel is not ideal for a Christian, whether the Bible abhors it or not. This is why much more is expected of you than is expected of others.

Choose To Live For God

You may be different in many ways from a non-preacher's kid, but being a Preacher's Kid does not make you different from all the other kids around when it comes to the tendency to fall and falter. You are as normal as they are, and will be tempted as they will!

You are still human: No degree of sermons, Bible studies or prayer meetings will defend you from the inner desire to yield to sin if you choose to give in to the temptation. However, if you choose to live for God, these things will strengthen your faith and help you to stand for God by giving you the power to resist these temptations when they come.

Make a personal decision to stand for the truth and to live for God anywhere you find yourself, either in the public or in your innermost privacy. This was what helped a leader's son in the Bible, who grew to become a respected international figure in his days. When he was tempted to catch some fun with a Sugar mummy who, coincidentally happened to be his bosses' wife, Mr Joseph Jacob reasoned within himself: how will I do such a thing and offend God? His final answer: he stood for God. You also can stand for God regardless of the temptations in your day.

Create A Boundary

Get it clear: Many people believe that your words, attitudes, and actions are a reflection of the spiritual temperature in the pastor's family. You will, therefore, need to be a bit cautious so as not to misrepresent the family you belong to. Do not allow the devil to use you become a distraction to your father.

Being a Preacher's Kid does not exempt one from being tempted like others. This is why you will need to intentionally build your own very strong resistance to sin. You will need to create for yourself a personal boundary concerning modesty and purity; both in dressing and in your relationships.

So much has been invested in your life; this you cannot deny. Since the Bible says to whom much is given, much is expected; you cannot afford to just live a normal life like every other kid, else, you will be wasting God's investment in your life.

So, create a boundary for yourself. Draw a line between your dos and don'ts, and keep away from the boundary lines. Make a decision on what you must never do again because it is not biblical. Also make a decision on what you will be careful enough to ensure that no member of the church catches you doing, not because it is a sin, but because they may miscomprehend your actions. This is the gospel truth: as a Preacher's Kid, you cannot be yourself in the presence of some people. This is not hypocrisy, it is diplomacy. You will save yourself a whole lot of trouble being who they expect you to be whenever they are around you. You only have the liberty to be yourself when you are far away from them.

Pray For Grace

If you feel that the standards that God expects you to conform to are too high, you can pray to Him for grace to meet up with the expectations. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Cor 10:13

That you still battle with besetting sins once in a while does not make you an enemy of God. God is willing to reconcile you back to Himself if you are willing to ask Him for grace to completely live beyond these sins. Your struggle with sin is not a strange battle. The whole Bible is a testimony of people who tried to overcome sins in order to live better lives. You also can overcome whatever irresistible sins are in your life, if you ask for grace.

Continually approach God in prayers for grace and mercy. Grace will give you the needed spiritual strength to stand in the face of any temptation, while mercy will speak for you and plead your verdict when, once in a while, you happen to goof. The difference between Preacher's Kids who succeed and the ones who fail is the availability of mercy and grace. It is not of righteousness, lest any man should glory in himself.

Build Up Your Spiritual Life

Be sincere in your faith. Preacher's Kid or not, you must have a direct relationship with God. Being a Preacher's Kid does not automatically make you a Christian, neither is it a guarantee that you will make it to heaven. You need to do what everyone must do to make heaven, which is to consciously and intentionally accept Jesus into your life. If you have never done this before, or cannot vividly remember when you did it, this may be a golden opportunity for you. You may just bow your hearts now and ask God to come into your life. You know precisely how to do it, so do it now. If you just did that now, I congratulate you.

Whether you just did it now or not, every Pastor's Kid needs to develop in faith. The reason is not just because your father is a pastor, or because people are watching you, but because you are a Christian. You have watched your father grow spiritually over the years to an enviable spiritual height. You also can have a soaring spiritual life. You cannot afford to float through your Christian life on the spiritual strength of your parents alone. You will need to build up your own spiritual energy too.

Growing your spiritual life is a personal thing; others may help you, but the greatest responsibilities still lie with you. Just as everyone needs to eat by himself in order to gain physical strength and balance for himself, so also no one can build up your spiritual vigor without your personal commitment and contribution to it.

You will need to make the faith your own by separating quality time for the word and for prayers. This is not just because you are a Preacher's Kid, but more because you are a believer who desires to please the Lord.

A WORD OF ADVICE TO THE PREACHER PARENT

Grow Their Faith

Every preacher needs to know that Christian teenagers of this age are more prone to spiritual attacks much more than their counterparts in previous ages, and if they do not have the right spiritual comfort and guidance at the home front, the church is likely to lose them, whether they are Preacher's Kids or just any other kids.

As a preacher-parent, give your child the opportunity to develop strong foundation for his faith while he is still being conformed to the likeness of Christ's image. Never place unreal expectations and demands of perfection on them overnight. No one is yet faultless. No church is perfect; no family is perfect; no pastor is perfect; no child is perfect; including a Preacher's Kid. Preacher's Kids are as human as every other person around and judging them by a higher standard than you judge yourself or any other kid in the church is hypocritical.

Preacher's Kids are not born saints; they are imperfect humans, just like every other man in the church. They have a body that still runs on blood and flesh, they are not yet immortal. They may be born into a pastor's family, but they are not born holy, and should be allowed to grow up to know Christ, and appreciate a developing intimate relationship with Him.
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Everyone is in a process of becoming like Him in some areas of their lives. Let your child know that God loves him, despite his challenges, and that God may feel bad that he is still struggling with some inadequacies, but God is not disappointed in him because of them.

It makes some sense to allow them some liberty to falter when they are still within the confines of your authority than allow the pretense that they are perfect believers. When they mistakenly slip or fall, help them back up on their feet with love. This freedom will enable them to live openly around

you, and ultimately grow up spiritually and minister more effectively.

The whole Bible itself is a testimony of people who lived daily, trying to overcome sin and striving to live a life pleasing unto the Lord. They all did not get there in one day. It took some time. The Preacher's Kid needs time.

Do Not Force Religion On Them

Be careful what image of the Preacher's Kid you are molding them into. Some Preacher's Kids are shy to talk in the public while some other ones are extroverts and outgoing. There is no fixed personality or temperament for the ideal Preacher's Kids. Do not force them to become the image of the Preacher's Kid you have always had in mind or the one that the society generally accepts, unless you have asked God whom they are created to be like.

Do not force religion on them. It will make them outwardly good but inwardly bad. They will do all of the good things when you are around, but will as well do all of the bad things when they know you are nowhere in sight. They will constantly switch between pretending and believing. This will not be good for a strong foundation in faith.

Spend quality time in building them to be who a good Christian should be. Accept the person they are, and help them to become better with it. Help them to become the best that God configured them to be.

Defend Your Family

The major problem of the Preacher's Kid is with the overly-demanding members, and the pastor who does not know how to defend his family. Every good pastor must be ready to protect his seeds from the waiting grips of such devouring lions in members' clothing.

Stand up for your children. The people you pastor need to be taught that, just as you show them love and help restore them back to grace whenever they fall once in a while, they also should give your children the opportunity of getting restored whenever they falter too, and not crucify them every time they make a mistake. If you do not fight for them, no one will.

This is not to say you will create a wall of "touch not mine anointed" around them, but you must be ready to defend them whenever the need arises, and not open them up to public disgrace, especially such that can be avoided. That way, your kids will learn to respect their father at home and be proud of their pastor in church any day anytime.