I surveyed over 20 pastors’ kids (PKs) for another author. The responses of these adult PKs were staggering. A few responded favorably. Most were being respectful to their parents, but were brutally honest.
After reading these, my wife and I took a long walk. I shared the general results with her. After all, my two boys were PKs their whole life. I told her that a ministry to PKs is a huge need. Some of the responders, ranging in age from 20 to 59, expressed deep-rooted scars, bordering on psychological trauma. This concerned me for the long-term health of pastoral families.
What can we do to address the unique challenges of raising pastors’ kids to be emotionally healthy, spiritually faithful children? I humbly offer four tips to manage your PK well.
1. Confess and Repent Early and Often.
You will make mistakes—a lot of them. Count on it. The best thing you can do is to confess to your children where you have failed and ask their forgiveness—even if they are still toddlers.
You will need to learn to communicate with your family about what you are feeling. They already know you are stressed. Let them know when you are feeling down or pressured or angry or just ill. Young children (and wives) will take the emotional expression of your stressors personally.
2. Establish Family Routines.
Pastors’ families have different schedules than other families. Dad (and mom in many cases) has to work on the weekends. Other families have weekends free. Your children will recognize this. You will need to establish family routines that work best for your children and your schedule. In many cases, the flexibility of your job provides creative options that the banker’s kids do not get to enjoy.
Take advantage of the flexibility by setting a family outing day or family game nights or whatever your family enjoys. The children need to believe that it is an honor and a privilege to be a PK because pastor-dad can spend time with us, coach us, go to boring school functions with us and have fun with us.