Wuxiaworld > CHALLENGES OF PASTOR’S KID > 6 Chapter Five: LOW KEY SOCIAL LIFE

6 Chapter Five: LOW KEY SOCIAL LIFE



They may look very sociable and outgoing, but Preacher's Kids are oftentimes the loneliest kids around. They live very lonely lives while growing up. They are isolated from almost everyone and everything. Except God helps them to have people around who understand the peculiarity of their situation, it is a very boring life.

So many things are done to Preacher's Kids in various denominations in the name of preserving the denomination's brand of holiness and avoiding all appearances of evil. Many of these things only ensure that a P.K.'s social life is reduced to zero. It is so bad that in some quarters, anytime he is caught catching some sort of innocent fun, Pastor's Kids are made to feel guilty, as though they are not allowed to enjoy anything outside the Word of God and prayers: these should be their daily meal, three times a day.

Some Pastor's Kids are not even bold enough to engage in any form of sports or physical exercises in the presence of their parents or some church elders; they may be accused of engaging in unscriptural or worldly activities while souls are still perishing. These elders are quick to quote Apostle Paul "physical exercise profits little", forgetting that 'little' is different from 'nothing'.

EXTREMISM ABOUT WORLDLINESS

Most Preachers' Kids live a stereotyped low-key life. They cannot use the latest fashion because someone feels it is too carnal; they cannot learn the latest dance steps because someone in church may complain; they cannot use the modern gadgets because their father should not be able to afford expensive devices unless he is taking money from the church offerings.

His social life is at zero level. He cannot listen to any kind of music besides the few gospel songs his preacher-parents recommend to him. Some very good gospel music may even be exempted from his playlist because his father complains that the beat is too fast and so must be from the demonic realm, or the rhythm is too slow and so must be lustfully romantic, or the sound is too loud and may likely affect his brain waves or deafen his ears, or the dance steps is strange to what his preacher-parents were used to twenty years ago when they were teenagers or youths.

It is just as though his growing years have been stolen away from him. He is not allowed any exposure to what his mates call pleasure. He always feels left out of the fun most times. Almost all of the nicest musicals his mates get to enjoy, from time to time without anyone blinking an eyelid, are the first set to get deleted from his collections. Moving his limbs to some form of music could attract serious punishment simply because the song is on the list of top ten and every other teenager around is dancing that step. He just needs to be very hyper-spiritual or rather pretend to be one if he is not, else he is seen as carnally minded.


It is so bad that, in some stations, using cologne or deodorant can be seen as worldliness for a Preacher's Kid. He cannot play with some toys because the cartoon character looks demonic in one of the Church elder's eyes. He cannot watch some soap operas because it feels romantic. He cannot have a particular haircut because it is either too famous, or his parents have not seen it on any godly Christian youth or man of God before.

The definition of "modest apparel" to a Preacher's Kid is completely different to what an average teenager in the same church understands. Modest apparel means that he or she must dress like his grandparents dressed 100years before he was born, and must not at any time be found putting on whatever his mates are putting on, or anything in the vogue. He must always live in the past, and forget about the present, because the present days are evil. He has his clothes, haircuts, eating habits and everything about him reviewed weekly in anonymous notes to his parents or the deacon's board.

All of these because he is a Preacher's Kid! This is one of the causes of rebellion in most Preachers' Kids. Things like, don't go to the movies, don't play card games, don't put on jeans, don't use jewelries, don't have a male friend if you are a female and the like are just being legalistic in this age and time.

For so many, being a Pastor's Kid is like being in a cage and they cannot just wait to break free someday soon. He gets so many restrictions that at times he feels he is being suffocated. If at all he is allowed once in a while to borrow a pair of wears from this generation, it must be within the confines of his room in school, as no church elder must see so that they will not complain that the Pastor's Kid is getting too trendy. Everywhere she goes, her dress must be church-appropriate, even if it is a dinner party and not a church meeting. His whole life is measured by the dictates of the church's doctrinal standards, which seem even more important than the standards of Christ Himself, or so they have made it look.

The painful part in all of these is that most Preachers' Kids have come to realize that many church elders who get interested in P.K's lives are really not interested in them living a holy lifestyle; all they desire to see is just the appearance of a holy routine. It does not really matter whether they live a holy life or not; once they appear holy before men, it is enough.

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ISOLATION

As a P.K., he is also denied the privilege to hang out with some of his friends since someone thinks they are very bad because they either do not attend his church, belong to his denomination, answer a Christian name, or are not seen to be Christianly because of the way they talk, dress, or look.

He cannot have friends who are not Christians even in his classroom because someone feels they are highly demonic, no matter how good he thinks they are. There are so many people he cannot play with because they are not spiritual enough. It is assumed he will get contaminated with sin by just having a handshake with them. So, if at all he must say hi, he must first look around to see that there is no prying eye, either that of his parents or someone in their congregation.

He is isolated from his age mates, especially when it comes to social events, either in the school or among friends in the neighborhood. Most preacher-parents do not know how this makes their children feel!

He is even scared of getting too close to his agemates in church. This can also be because, many times, he does not know who he can trust. Once bitten, twice shy. Getting so close and intimate with someone may mean that someday, they might discover something about him which may become a big issue in the church and may eventually cause a problem, either for him or his parents. He does not want to take any chance of being hurt.

On the other hand, some parents in the church are very skeptical about their kids playing together with and getting so close to the Preacher's Kid. They fear that the kid may come to their house someday and find something unbefitting and then go home to tell his dad, the pastor.

Another annoying thing is being an inactive participant in meetings. Most Preachers' Kids don't understand why they must stay back for meetings they are not going to be a part of. Just sitting there alone in the church while dad attends to board meetings or a staff meeting is frustrating. Most times, rather than hang out with his friends out there, he is expected to stay somewhere around the church, or hang out with his father's staff in the church office. He is in the midst of thousands of people, yet he still feels very lonely.

He is always the first person amidst his mates to get to the church, and the last one to leave. He must get to church an hour early and stay two hours after the close of service. Church has been over for a while, but he is still waiting for is dad, who is attending to a member of the church, and he just secretly wonders if the man who is delaying his father actually knows that he is delaying the whole family.

It may even be so bad that as a lady, at times, guys are even afraid to come to speak with her or ask her out because of her dad who is a preacher. His parents do not really know how lonely he is. At times, he wonders if his calling as a P.K. is to be lonely so that others can enjoy life to the fullest, just like Christ who became poor so that others can be rich.

LOSS OF IDENTITY

Almost every Preacher's Kid you meet is battling with an identity crisis. He is given little or no opportunity to discover who he really is. His destiny is predetermined even before he is born; he is a Preacher's Kid, and so he must remain, in word, in deed, and in truth! At every stage of his life, he will be constantly reminded of who he is, and what is expected of him, without anyone bothering about who he really should be.

His name can even be lost in the identity battle. For some people, it is as though he does not have a name or his name is not important; everybody seems okay with calling him the pastor's child. Even among his close friends, he is more likely to be introduced as "my pastor's daughter" than "my friend". His name is almost forgotten. The way it looks, no one would have known of his existence if it weren't for his Dad's calling.

The only reason some people remember him is because of his surname. Besides that family name, he is not even in existence; as though all that matters about him is just the last name. Even if his father happens to attend his school function with him by chance (pastors rarely have time for such frivolities anyway), the man is recognized more as the Senior Pastor of the Pentecostal church downtown, than as a parent. This is because even in his child's school, when they have to introduce themselves, most preacher-parents unconsciously introduce themselves as Pastor UVW, the Senior Pastor of XYZ Church, rather than father of ABC.

Pastor's Kids may be what they are, but most times, it is not who they are. Who they really are is always covered up by what their parents desire to see. Consciously or unconsciously, he learns to be very spiritual, even before he learns to spell the word.

As a child, the Preacher's Kid may always succumb, by trying to live up to this standard created for him, but as he grows into his teen years, and then his youth age, the pressure to always have to perform may begin to catch up with him. This is where rebellion starts. More of this is discussed in a later chapter titled: Why Preacher's Kids rebel.

With this kind of monotonous lifestyle, the result is that the kids are often either robots or rebels. Although, these embargos are necessary most times, as it helps save the Preacher's Kid from getting into some very messy mischiefs which they later may regret in life. It helps restrain them from all appearances of evil, most especially when they are in the public, and also serves as a warning signal that cautions them to abstain from all evils whenever they are alone. Most P.Ks do not see it in this light because of the people's manner of presentation.

BOTTLED UP EMOTIONS

This is like having to please everyone, but himself. His house seems to be the perfect Comfort Court for the hurting, the desperate, the wearied and the bruised. They come crying but they leave smiling. Meanwhile, the Preacher's Kid stays in the same house, hurting, depressed, wearied and bruised, but still attending to others who have the same issues, and there is none to attend to his. Everyone feels he is spiritually matured to take care of himself.

His father's responsibility is to listen to the problem of other people, but none is available to listen to his. Once in a while when he decides to open up to his parents or people who he feels he can get the best of advice from in the congregation, they make attempts to give some answers to his questions and challenges, but he is not even convinced that they understand the gravity of the challenges he is wrestling with, as their answers are just shallow and lopsided. The most common advice he gets is: "just pray more, hand everything over to God, He will make all things beautiful in His own time".

These pressures which Pastor's Kids go through, if not well managed, can lead to disastrous tendencies. There are enough examples in history and in our present-day life to back up this claim. Matthew Warren, the son of the author of the bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life" and a megachurch prominent pastor Rick Warren, took his own life with a gun on April 5, 2013 at age 27. Although an official statement from the father reads that he had "struggled from birth from mental illness and dark holes of depression," one will wonder what kind of pressure he has gone through before taking such unreasonable decision, and if the pressure has anything to do with being the son of a world-famous pastor. Jay Bakker, the son of televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, also confessed to have suffered from depression at a time in his life.

These are the daily experiences of Pastors' Kids; most of them are in a world of their own. The major problem here is that most pastoral parents don't even notice it when their kids start experiencing this depression. A lot of Preachers' Kids are forced to deal with their struggles privately.

It's hard to believe that a Pastor's Kid actually has feelings. He is not supposed to; or better said, he is not supposed to show it, especially when the expression is not palatable or encouraging. As a good Preacher's Kid, he is not expected to display his real emotions publicly, most especially when he is sad, annoyed or disappointed. It does not matter whether his parents have paid his late school fees or not; or whether there is something at home to eat or not. He is expected to be joyful and happy at all moments. His facial expressions must not betray the true situation at home. The joy of the Lord must be his strength and not physical things.

He must always uphold the testimony of the family that the Lord is good by constantly beaming with smiles everywhere he goes, even if the present family circumstances proves otherwise. All who see him must have a feeling that all is well all the time, because the Lord is supposed to be good any day anytime, especially to the pastor's family. As a well-trained Preacher's Kid, irrespective of the heavy load he carries, he must not let down his emotions. Crying in the presence of other people especially at church is considered a great sign of weakness. So, he must put up smiling appearances even when he has a broken heart or a great challenge.

Whatever he feels, it is very hard to see him break down because he is always encouraged at the home front not to speak openly of sensitive issues. He must be tight-lipped. He has to mask his disappointments and struggles with great grins and pretend everything is going on as planned, even if nothing is. He is meant to model Jesus, who, according to the church members' gospel, is always lively, friendly, accommodating and happy. This will require that he learns to master the fake laughs, since he just has to talk to certain people in the congregation every week. Even when he does not feel like it, after service on Sundays, he has to fake being interested enough to talk to people. His only saving grace will be to lose his voice during the service, or to pretend to.

This heavyweight of expectations can make a Preacher's Kid's public life distinctly uncomfortable. Due to this dented self-image, Pastor's Kids are always looking for approval from everyone they meet, be it a spiritual personnel or a secular one. They want approval to be themselves, to feel free, they want approval to break out of the cage wherein they have been silently but consciously enslaved by either the church or their community.

At first, a lot of success is recorded in exceedingly suppressing the Pastors' Kids emotions, masking their pains, which seems a good way of covering up whatever challenges they go through at the home front. Over time, when he can no longer contain it, there is an uncontrollable outburst. The emotions become extremely expressed, depending on how much and how often he has been battered over church-related issues in times past. This uncontrollable outburst of emotions is what is termed as disobedience in most spiritual quarters. Before it gets to this stage, something needs to be done.

A WORD OF CAUTION FOR THE PK

Things Can Never Be The Same

Get this straight: You are a Preacher's Kid, and so may never live a normal life like your mates. If your parents have nothing to do with the ministry, maybe you would have been given the privilege to live a more normal life; they may relax some of these rules for you.

To an extent, your parents are right in their actions. You really may not blame them for doing whatever they feel they need to do to safeguard your destiny and their ministry. Some of these restrictions are because your parents want to serve the Lord in the ministry and the way you live your life will determine the people's assessment and acceptance of your parent's ministry. Even the Bible encourages that the behavior of the children should be considered before ascertaining the suitability of a person for leadership positions (Titus 1:6, 1 Timothy 3:4-5). So, get set for the challenges that being a Preacher's Kid attract.

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Plan Your Time Ahead

Learn to organize yourself ahead of time. If you know you have to wait for longer periods before or after a church service, instead of sitting down confused, complaining and grumbling to yourself, it makes more sense to plan ahead and prepare for it beforehand by taking along to church something to do, since you already know you may have to stay back in church for a while. You may go with, say, your school assignment, a school textbook, a novel, a motivational book or just anything to keep you busy before your father is ready for home.

This is a better way of judiciously using your time than sitting down lonely and feeling bad that your father is a pastor and you are just a Preacher's Kid that has no choice but to accept the unfair treatment life is pushing to you.

Make Your Parents Your Confidant

You should also confide in your parents from time to time. You may feel they do not have enough time to listen to you, but if you watch carefully, you will still find some spare time, no matter how little, to tell them. Even if they do not give you the advice you think you need, at least letting them into the dark riddles of your hearts will let them know what is presently going on in your life.

Beyond just knowing these needs, they will take out time to really pray for you in their prayer closets. Their prayers will work the needed miracles in your life. Being men of God, God can even begin to reveal to them that the way they have approached the issues you presented to them is wrong, telling them a better way to go about it.

Source For A Mentor

Besides confiding in your preacher-parents, you will also need a confidant whom you will allow to mentor you. Such a person may not necessarily be a member of your father's church so as to allow you open up fully to him. He may even be one of your father's preacher friends or a respected personality in the community.

Whoever it is, he should be far more mature than you, and should be able to give you sound godly advice on every issue you present to him. He will guide you on how to overcome whatever challenges you are going through in the way of the Lord. Once you find such a person, be very open to him. Tell him things you cannot even divulge to your parents, and you can be sure that the Lord will help him to speak proper words of guidance to your life and destiny.

Pray More About Issues

Trying not to show your emotion, especially when it is screaming for expressions may be tough, but you can take a cue from Jesus who prayed for his enemies while suffering the pains on the cross.

If you have so many issues in your life and you feel the issues are traceable to your identity as a Pastor's Kid, then take them up in prayers. Make God your greatest confidant and use every opportunity you have to present every issue of your life to Him. If God has deliberately placed you in that family, He knows the challenge you will face there, and you can be sure that He will be there to help you overcome them if you take them to Him.

A WORD OF ADVICE TO THE PREACHER PARENT

Be Sensitive To Their Unspoken Needs

We need to be very careful being preacher-parents. The protocol that comes with the respected office we occupy, coupled with the level of public comportment expected of us can make us neglect or override genuine expressions of emotions and feelings of our sons and daughters, especially when we are in the public glare. Don't be too busy to notice every little change in your children. Your love for them should relegate to subordinate positions in your hearts whatever opinion the people you serve may have about you.

Do not just assume they will get over issues with time; time does not change things, people do. And in this case, you, their father, are the 'people'. Purposely watch out for every minute change in their emotional display and lovingly seek to know the cause, attending to it if necessary and as soon as you can.

They may not have to tell you all of their needs verbally. They may be very outspoken as regards some. For their sensitive nature, they may be overwhelmingly reserved about others. This is because they can feel the pressures you are going through with the church activities and do not intend to add to them. Whatever they decide not to speak about is not less important than the ones they voice out. In fact, it may be a greater source of concern to them than the ones they openly speak about.

Get concerned and help them out with it as soon as you can. Delay can be dangerous. If you think the issue is so insignificant and does not warrant your immediate attention, the next time you hear about the same, it may be too big for you to handle alone.

Allow Them Catch Some Fun

Given, P.Ks love the church and the ministry, yes, but they will like to have some friends and fun outside the church denomination too. Giving them this flexibility options will not make them become devils overnight but will give them a balanced view of life.

It is not out of place to allow your son to catch some fun which his age mates are having as long as the pleasure is not against the laid down principles of God. Train them in the way of the Lord, implant the fear of God in them, safeguard them from every necessary evil as much as possible, but also allow them enjoy their lives as long as they are not engaging in unscriptural actions.

Lastly, as a pastor, you should maturely encourage other people to learn to address your children by their names. Their identity is not derived from their father's career. They have names, and the name is certainly not 'Pastor's Son or Pastor's Daughter.

Educate Them

Instead of just telling them what to do and what not to do, or giving them rules and regulations, tell them why they need to do what you want them to do. Telling them the 'why' and showing them from the scriptures, backed up by rational reasons, will go a long way to making them understand the motives behind certain beliefs and actions, and they will react differently from when just told to obey blindly.

Do not moralize things that are non-moral issues or scripturalize things that are non-scriptural issues. Tell them simply what the Bible says about the issue, and if the Bible is silent on it, let them know too. If you have personal issues with a particular thing, do not hide behind the Bible to condemn it. Let them know that you personally do not like it, and not that the Bible is against it.

It is possible for a father to take a stand on issues that the Bible is silent about. This is because we are all moral beings with likes and dislikes. This is the reason why the Bible will be silent on such issues in the first place. On issues like this, let them know your stand as your personal position on the matter and not the Bible's standard. As a father, you have a right to determine what you want done in your house, and as long as your children are under your roof, they are bound by the scriptures to obey. The challenge will arise when you begin to scripturalize stuff, especially on issues where the Bible did not take any candid stand.