I came across this in Barnabas Piper’s great book The Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity, which I highly recommend.
If you attend church or meet a Pastor’s kid, here are things to keep in mind when you meet them. They’ll appreciate it:
- Do not ask us “What is it like to be the son or daughter of…?” How are we supposed to answer that question? Could you easily describe being the child of your parents? Remember, PKs are normal people with just a different upbringing than you. Please treat us that way. We think of our parents as parents, nothing more.
- Do not quote our dads to us. This is really and truly annoying because it comes across as one of two things. Either you are proving your piousness by being so aware of the utterance of the beloved pastor, or you are being condescending and holding our parents words over our heads. Neither is impressive or appreciated.
- Do not ask us anything personal you would not ask of anyone else. If, perchance, you have gained some knowledge of a PK through a sermon illustration or book or hearsay, it is best to keep it to yourself. To ask a question based on knowledge that you gained in an impersonal manner makes you look like either a stalker or a reporter. Both are creepy.
- Do not ask us anything about our dads positions on anything. “What does your dad think about …?” is a question no PK wants to answer – not about politics, the roles of women in the church, predestination, the use of drums in the worship service, spiritual gifts, race, or anything else. We have opinions and beliefs, though. And we like to converse. So you could ask us what we think, like a normal person.
- Do not assume you can gain audience with the pastor through us. That’s what the church secretary or the pastor’s assistant is for. Please let us be children. We usually don’t have the ability to make a meeting happen, and we almost never want to.
- Do not assume that we agree with all the utterances of our fathers. I know it’s hard to believe that any child could grow up and disagree with her parents, but it does happen. It is not kind or safe to assume that our parents’ positions are ours. And when you find out we don’t agree, please refrain from being shocked or offended.
- Get to know us. This is a good rule for anyone, but it especially pertains to PKs. Just as you want people to value your opinions, personality and character quirks, so do we. More often than not you will get a surprise. Wow, that PK actually has a sense of humor! Who knew PKs could be so fun? Wait, he said what? Leave your assumptions at the door and let us be us. You’ll probably like what you find.