A Word of Encouragement To The Mothers Of Preachers' Kids

So much has been said about the pastor and his kids. But there are three personalities that make up the pastor's family: the pastor, his spouse, and his kids. It looks as though his spouse has been neglected so far, as though there is nothing significant for her to do in this bid. This cannot be true; hence this chapter is dedicated to the pastor's spouse.

Take Charge In His Absence

So much lies on your table as the pastor's spouse. On your own part, as the leader at home (in the absence of their father), you must be willing to take destiny-molding decisions, stand by those decisions, and be willing to take responsibilities for those decisions. Do not allow your kids to unconsciously believe that they are only accountable to their father and so could do just anything whenever their father is not at home and go unchallenged. In every proper organization, in the absence of the Head of Department, the second in command takes over as the acting HOD until the substantial HOD returns.

The home, as God designed it, is a proper organization with the man as the Head of the Family (HOF). In his absence, things should not be allowed to go haywire. You take charge as the Acting HOF to maintain discipline and order. You must be able to make up for the time their father does not have for them by sacrificing more of your own time for their moral, spiritual and academic development. (Please note that irrespective of how matured she is spiritually, the presence of the pastor's wife at home cannot make up for an absentee father. No preacher should use the excuse of an Acting HOF to completely abscond from his responsibilities)

Show Genuine Interest In Their Hobby

Be interested in their hobbies. Know what they like to do at their free moments and encourage them to be better at it. It does not have to be a church-related activity; whatever it is, as long as it is not ungodly and unscriptural, allow them. Do what is best for them, but never compromise the faith.

Let them feel free like a normal kid once in a while, and not just like a pastor in a kid's body. Being a member of the pastor's family is meant to be a blessing, let them not begin to see it as a curse. Sponsor programs and buy materials that will enable them to become better in their hobbies.

This will prove to them that you have a genuine interest in their lives, and not just for your personal religious gains.

Ask Thought-Provoking Questions

One way to know what is going on in their minds is to ask questions, especially about their day to day living. Ask about their experiences in school, about their preferences on issues where they have to make quite significant choices that could determine how much of their father's belief system they have embraced.

The temptation is for you to always want to talk while they listen since you always assume to know more. To know the real contents and intents of their hearts, you will have to learn to keep quiet and listen to them talk.

Always be attentive to them when they discuss, especially when they are among their colleagues, or even when they are talking with friends on the phone. Give attention to everything they say, and watch out for signs that could show what is really going on in their minds. You are not supposed to sneak up on them trying to eavesdrop on every bit of their intimate conversations, but if you are sensitive and attentive enough, the Holy Spirit will allow words to flow to you through which you can determine how close or how far they are from the faith, and through this information help them to become better.

Respect Their Opinion On Divergent Issues

Learn to respect their opinions whenever it does not contradict the scriptures. To respect their opinion, you need to hear them out first. So, rather than hold on to your own belief about life's principles, hear what their views are first.

This will help you to see things from a teenager's or youth's viewpoint. You will understand better why they do what they do, and with this understanding, you will be able to correct them on how to do it in a better way, if they need to change. If not, you may be the one who needs to change. This orientation may serve as an avenue to educate you on what you do not know and better arm you to deal with the same issues from a neutral perspective when confronted with it publicly in the future.

Befriend Their Friends

Know who their intimate friends are, and get close to them. They may not really want to make your friends their friends, but it is easier for you to make their friends your friends.

Know what kind of lifestyle their friends have, what they believe, and what their orientation about life is. This is because, sooner or later, your children will always end up behaving like their friends. This is why the Bible says evil communication corrupts good manner (1 Cor. 15:33).

Be quick to separate them from any ungodly relationship if you discover one in their lives. It might not be so easy to do, but you will need to stamp your feet on issues like this. If need be, involve their father for more authoritative decisions and disciplinary actions.

Join Their Social Networks

If your teenage children are on any social media network, endeavor to join the same and become their friends on the social network. This will help them to consciously select who else they accept as friends on such networks, and what they allow to be discussed on their pages, knowing that there is a likelihood that their mother will see it.

Pray For Them

The most important way to raise your kid is on your knees. How many days in a month do you kneel down to pray for the kids? Most pastors and their spouses spend more time complaining about their kid's characters than praying for them. They will rather fast and pray for the growth of the church and for the members of the church, than pray for their own kids.

Intentionally, separate time where you and their father will seek God's face on behalf of your children. Do not wait until they begin to show tendencies of backwardness before you get concerned. Start praying for them now.

Deal Easily With Them

If you are bothered about the spiritual state of your child, instead of fighting him over it, take the less volatile but more effective way: talk it over. Constant communication achieves what fights and arguments cannot. Create a time to talk about it. When you want to address it, speak with humility and respect, even if they have not earned it.

Some pastors do not know they need to respect their children's feelings, especially when correcting them in the public. They get so worked up that they get unreasonably touchy and they can yell at them right in front of the church or chastise them right from the pulpit. This is not good enough.

Parental Discipline

It's a common experience for Preacher's Kids to get disciplined often because of church, either in church or at home. "So what did you learn from the sermon today?" Your mother asks, and then you get into very serious trouble for not listening if you can't come up with something relevant. Most Pastors' Kids will never forget in a short while that judgmental look they get when mum catches them dozing off on their seats while their father is preaching in church, or when their father glances sharply at them from the pulpit and all they can think is "what am I doing wrong again?"

Disciplining a Preacher's Kid is good, especially when he has done something wrong; it makes him a better person, but do not always use the church as a reason for disciplining the child. Discipline if you have to, but not because of how your child made you feel in church. If every time a Preacher's Kid is disciplined, it is in respect of the church, or its dogmas, he begins to build a genuine hatred for his source of sorrow, which in this case is the church. This may start with losing interest in the church activities but may overtime grow into losing complete interest in the faith. No one appreciates what constantly brings him sorrow.

Once in a while, you may not be happy with their actions in the church, especially in the presence of the elders who may use it against you sometime in the future, but talk to them about it. We all do what God is not happy with once in a while, and He does not kill us for it. Rather than force them to behave well for the sake of the church, or in the presence of some personality in the church, convince them to behave well for the sake of God. This works better, from experience.

Never Scream At Them

Instead of screaming at them when they do not do what you want, you may decide to speak in low tunes and reason with them. Whenever you scream at them, you act more like their judge, but when you speak lowly, they see you more as a corrective teacher. Who will not prefer an instructor to a faultfinder?

Constantly screaming at them will also mean that you are unable to control your own emotions as old as you are, and you expect them to be able to control theirs as young as they are. You can still be very emphatic and insistence even with low tunes. Remember, it is the rain that grows the plant and not the thunder. Thinking that your grown-up child will obey you in a hurry because of the loudness of your voice or the display of anger in your emotions is a deception that needs to be corrected.

Avoid Negative Comparison

You may not see anything wrong with it, but comparing your kids with friend's kids and church members in a negative way may destroy whatever good esteem they have of themselves. It may unconsciously cause them to develop low self-esteem which can, in later years, degenerate into inferiority complex whenever they are around such people. Be careful when you make such comparisons. The people around them have destroyed enough of their self-esteem with the way they relate to them, do not make it worse.
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Protect The Church

Protect the church before your children. Your grown-up kids will naturally hear tales and see things about the church which they should not be exposed to at such a tender age. It is your responsibility to, maturely, explain things to them such that they will not have a wrong impression about the church and become bitter against its members.

Your children naturally see the effort their father, your husband is putting into the church work. If you let them nurse the impression that the church is not reciprocating their father's effort or that the church is taking advantage of their father, you will be setting them against the church. You may do this to gain sympathy from them in the immediate, but the resultant long term consequence may not go down well with you.