Wednesday, January 16, 2008
When PK's Ask Difficult Questions
PK, also known as preacher's kid, face unique situations in life which are sometimes stressful and sometimes privileged. Stress from not having your parents when you want them, troubled and jealous people, and a fluctuating schedule. Privileges range from first in the potluck line or traveling to faraway places for events and experiencing new countries, cities, cultures and friends. This was the only life I knew and the life my children know. Most often, PK's are keenly aware of happenings and people which provokes the PK to ask questions which can be difficult to answer. When I was a child, there were many occasions church members would come to our house to seek counsel and my sister and I would be sent to our rooms so our parents could discuss confidentially with the saint. My sister and I would not hear the conversations, but it was easy to determine if the meeting was pleasant or not. No matter how hard our parents tried, their body language would give them away. If you couldn't quite figure it out then, you just waited until the next service and watched the people they counseled. Now my husband has made it a practice to counsel with people at his church office but my children, like my sister and I, know if the meeting was glad or sad. My husband is great at masking his feelings, but somehow these kids "just know." Then comes the questions - "Why did it take so long?" "Do those people love you, Dad?" "Why did Mr. NoName look mad and why was Mrs. NoName crying?" The questions can be endless. Now if you are a minister and minister's wife like my husband and I, you never repeat any part of a counseling session to your children and you try your best to shield them from any negative feelings. Even so, PK's sense so much. As much as a pastor tries to keep all counseling sessions during "normal" hours at his office, the fact is people work and they want to speak to the pastor at their convenience. This means late night meetings, lunch time, dinner time, and the occasional middle-of-the-night phone calls. PK's can feel as though they are being robbed of their parents time and must be convinced that mom or dad is helping someone. This can bring more questions because sometimes dad's counsel is refused and the member decides to walk a different path. That's when the question is asked, "Where is Bro. Whoever?" The most difficult is when Bro. Whoever was someone who had made himself very close to the pastor and his family. The PK then wonders why Bro. Whoever stopped loving them. Pastors try very hard not to play favorites, but there are always parishioners who make themselves available for any service to the pastor and make themselves close. The pastor does not favor this person over another member, but because of the strong love and support this member gives the pastor it endears them to the pastor and his family. When you have an "endeared" member walk away, the sting is intense. Several years ago, there was a young girl who desired to play the piano so much. She didn't have any family members in our church and she became very close to our family. I drove her, my son, and niece to piano lessons every week which was always followed with dinner and ice cream. I loved this girl as if she were my own. Suddenly, a young man entered her life and persuaded her she did not need God. Away she went, but not before calling and asking, "Would anybody want my Bible because I don't need it anymore?" Ouch! Hurt! I cried for days sure my heart would break until I received a song in the mail titled "Comforter" that brough peace to my soul. My son was devastated and asked, "Why?" Another occasion, my husband had been in a lengthy counseling session with another "endeared" one and our children were waiting for the session to end so our family could go to dinner. Finally, it was over. We all got in the car and headed to the restaurant. The short drive to eat was quiet. We parked and began to walk to the door of the restaurant when our young son slipped next to his dad and quietly asked, "Dad, did you lose them?" That time, the question was too difficult for me. I cried knowing that before long we would be hearing, "Dad, how come she doesn't love us anymore?" I tried to hold the tears back. They wouldn't stop. When PK's ask difficult questions, mom or dad can do their best to mask feelings, but sometimes our humanity takes over and we cry.