The Burden Of Being A Preacher’s Kid
Hello, my name is Jazmine and I’m a PK, also known as a preacher’s kid. Not just a preacher’s kid, a pastor’s kid. Yes folks, there is a difference.
My father has been a pastor for 40 plus years. My grandfather was also a pastor. I was born and raised in the church. At one point in my life I knew nothing but church.
Tuesday Mission meeting. Wednesday noon day prayer and bible study. Thursday choir rehearsal. Saturday free clothing giveaway and feed the hungry and sometimes ministering to people in the park 😩. Sunday, 9:30 AM Sunday school, 11 AM morning worship, 3 PM second service and sometimes 7 PM night service.
What was it like growing up a PK? One word, stressful. It didn’t become stressful until I was old enough to truly feel and understand the affects of what that role meant. The role of a PK often came with unrealistic expectations. I think this is religion in general, but even more so with being the child of a pastor.
There is always the expectation that you will always serve and support in whatever way you can. That support can look like singing in the choir. Giving the welcome. Serving in every committee that exists. Key word, expected. Pastor’s kids aren’t given a choice, even as adults. And God forbid if you don’t show up for something or you decide to leave their church…
There were some days I hated the fact that my father was a pastor because I wanted a sense of what I saw as normal. Things like listening to secular music. Who remembers when you had to be 18 to buy tapes with parental advisory on them? Ha, I remember asking someone to buy me music that I had no business listening to. First “worldly” music I bought I believe was Kris Kross. I used to be the only kid on field trips with gospel in my Walkman. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that anything was or is wrong with that, I just wanted it to not be a problem if I wanted to listen to something other than James Cleveland.
As I began to age the strictness intensified. I began to become resentful every time I heard, when you leave this house you represent your daddy and I. Blah blah blah, I know. My curfew was 11 PM until I moved out. Everything felt like it was about image. I felt like I couldn’t let loose and be myself. There was the heavy burden of being perfect and not tainting the Pastor’s image with worldly behavior. This made me rebel and it also taught me to be real sneaky.
One pivotal moment stands out for me. It was when I became pregnant with my daughter at 20 and was unwed. At that very moment, the clock started ticking. The countdown to find a husband had begun. Oh the shame y’all. Not only was the Pastor’s daughter pregnant, but she wasn’t married. Y’all wouldn’t believe some of the things I heard and dealt with. The whispers swirling as I walked through church, or out and about being asked, aren’t you Pastor Williams’ daughter and the shitty looks I received. Needless to say, I wed when my daughter was 6 months old. If you want to know how that ended, read my blog on divorce guilt.
Here is what I need Pastors with children to understand. Remember that YOU answered the call, not your children. The cross that you’re bearing isn’t theirs to bear. Do not put the unnecessary burden on them of maintaining a perfect image to make you look good. Allow them to be children. It’s isn’t easy for you, and it isn’t easy for them.
Until next time…🦋