“I don’t believe that you should give yourself to the church because your kids end up having problems. We’ve all seen how pastor’s kids turn out!”
Over and over again I have heard this stereotype.
Pastor’s kids who choose bad wild have done so because of the occupation of their parents.
I have often wondered about the lawyer, the doctor, the butcher, the retailer who’s child has chosen bad wild… why isn’t their occupation seen as the cause of bad wild?
Then I look at service oriented people. Those big hearted, generous people who serve our community through organisations like Rotary or Lions clubs. I’ve heard stories of their kids being bad wild. But not once has there been a link made between their big hearted giving and bad wild. Yet with pastor’s kids we make the link…they put community before their kids. When in actual fact the pastor’s gave no more, no less than community service givers.
I listen to this stereotyping and my heart breaks.
I see across our nation in pews, in streets, in pubs, in schools bad wild kids everywhere.
Choices made that parents have never hoped for, prayed for or longed for.
I look at kids who have sat in our pews and have now begun engaging with bad wild and my heart breaks. Kids who have given their vitality to things that sap rather than express the beauty of their season. Youth who have exchanged that wild pioneering edge for things that fall short of what’s really inside of them. I love the vitality, the enthusiasm, the adventuring spirit this age group have. They can give that energy to wild bad or wild good or wild nothing.
It seems that wild good, wild nothing and wild bad are all acceptable unless you are a pastor’s kid and then its proof that being a follower of Jesus Christ is actually bad for you…especially if you make it your career. Its a health hazard for your family.
Labelling and stereotyping is easy.
It gives permission for us to not know the story.
To not give the gift of presence so that we can know the sacred story of the human heart that sits in front of us.
Behind every label, every stereotype is a story of a person wanting to be valued, to be known and to be seen.
They have a story.
Maybe we don’t want to know the story of pastor’s kids.
Maybe it would make us uncomfortable.
What would happen if we were to hear the story of how anger, contempt, judgment, slander, and gossip had damaged their soul.
Then there’s the gift of perfect not presence that we give. How would we feel hearing how our desire for perfect church, perfect pastors impacted on the soul of another. Would we be humbled? Would we want to embrace that story? To seek forgiveness for our pride. That we wanted big numbers, perfect worship more than we wanted a young soul to thrive and flourish.
It’s easy to stereotype. Its our way out of the story of giving the gift of presence.
Whether your a pastor’s kid, a butcher’s kid, a teacher’s kid we all simply want our story heard.
Giving the gift of presence to hear another’s story is such a difficult thing to do. To simply listen. To not try to fix, make someone a project, advise or share.
But to listen to the story, to the silence in the story is a spiritual discipline.
I have to work at that…
To give the gift of time…
To put a person’s story before the religious observance.
I don’t think it’s the occupation that creates bad wild in a pastor’s kids heart.
I don’t think that being a disciple of Jesus is a health hazard for our families.
But what I think is a health hazard for all kids is when they can’t see the kingdom of God… God in action. When faith doesn’t go beyond that of pharisees.
Our kids need to see us living faith. That means doing the hard things like forgiveness, confession, and reconciliation. They need to see us practicing the spiritual disciplines so that we can become more like Christ, so that we can live the Sermon on the Mount. They need the gift of presence over perfect…
I love pastor’s kids…I Love my own kids…pastor’s kids.
They bring a vibrancy, a commitment and a heart that is rare.
Their ability to serve, to sacrifice…to be students of Jesus.
They have to push into defining what is a disciple of Jesus for themselves at a very young age.
Believe it or not but this is a gift to the church.
All around this amazing country I see pastors kids choosing wild good.
But sadly their story won’t be told as loudly as the bad wild pastors kids.
It’s easier to keep the stereotype alive and active.
Imagine what would happen if we stereotyped pastor’s kids as good…
I think that would really threaten the Christian bubble.
Because then we couldn’t escape the truth that being a disciple of Jesus Christ is good for us.
Maybe we would have to look at our own story…