Isn't it strange when contemplating preachers' children? I often find myself pondering things and attempting to find some rhyme or reason for the flow of things. I am a preacher's kid - a PK. Those of you who aren't PKs already have a preconceived notion on how you view us as a whole. Those of you who carry the title PK have your own view and usually feel an instant camaraderie with other PKs. You know of the "fish bowl" life. You know how always you were/are expected to perform above par because even non-preacher families feel their children and their behavior are a reflection of the parental "aptitude". For PKs, this performance is significantly higher - because not only are the parents trying to prove they are good parents emotionally and physically, but we add spiritually to that as well - and a rebellious, heathen child can really destroy that for you.
Aside from the "fish bowl" aspect, there's knowing that family life and church life are somehow both one and the same and totally disconnected - simultaneously. They are the same in that no matter what the family is doing, church and the people have an open invite to call, show up, be admitted to the hospital and need the pastor, have a concern, need a friend, call to gossip, or just call to complain because somebody took their pew. Now don't get me wrong, I love church folks, I really do. And there are times when the pastor is truly needed. But growing up, there were those times when the church felt like clouds when the sun was trying to shine through. The sun could shine and warm all day, and there was always the one or two more clouds to take care of. On the other hand, church life and family life was totally disconnected. If our family went through a difficult time, it was kept under wraps - we could fume at home but once we hit the church steps, the plastic smiles were pulled out of our pockets and pasted on. We were the preacher's family darn it - we were the epitome of a perfect family. We were all shiny and clean on the outside and festering or crying on the inside. But we were not to let that show. The pastor's family is there for others' needs...we deal with our own in privacy.
As time passes, Pks grow up. It is then that the pressure intensifies. People are curious to see if PKs will rebel or if they'll perform to a higher standard - and PKs are aware of this judging...don't kid yourself into thinking they aren't. If a child from a church family goes astray, it is considered a tragedy. If a PK goes astray, it is considered catastrophic and worthy of a lengthy gossip circle.
Some PKs have had enough by this time. They've endured the sacrifice and felt the reward was wanting. In their dismay, they simply fall away.
Some PKs have felt the "performance" ropes so tightly that as soon as they have the strength they pop them loose completely and totally rebel.
Others feel the pressure and still feel the need to perform. They do all that's expected, be everything to everyone, and yet never feel enough.
Some settle into a church and seem to make the transition from Pk to just another family.
What you have to understand about Pks is that they KNOW church. PKs know how to act, dress, talk, walk - yet they are constantly viewing all sorts of people and church situations. They see church splits, church gossips, church indecencies. They see their own family hurts, wounds, and anger smothered under a facade of perfection. PKs know what people say vs what people do. That knowledge weighs a lot. It has to be reckoned with....and each Pk reckons differently. Now I'm not saying all Pks live a miserable life...not at all....there are blessings and highlights. I'm just giving you non-Pks some insight and letting my fellow PKs know that I got your back :)