Over the last two years I’ve been so amazed at how Kai sets the tone and precedent for how he desires for people to interact with him. Even as an infant he was never one to just smile and coo, you had to earn his interaction and attention. In many ways I admire that about him, simply because he is who he is. Unapologetic and a toddler. But that doesn’t mix well all of the time, especially if you’re a pastor’s kid.
Titles can often give off negative connotations or set people up to fail, and I honestly believe that this is one of those. A few weeks ago I found myself laughing hysterically when Kai nonchalantly called Mike, “Pastor Mike.” We both looked at each other and couldn’t help but laugh, simply reminding him that we are just mommy and daddy – no other names. But even in that moment something began to click for not just Kai, but for me…because before that Kai (even still) had no idea why we’re at church as often as we are. He doesn’t understand why we have students with us so much or why our house sometimes feels like a revolving door for ministry. He gets tired of having to stay late or only having dinner with just myself and Titus while daddy is finishing up work. To him he doesn’t know any difference. This is his norm. Not necessarily the norm I would have chosen, but I trust there is a reason for our lives fully thrown into ministry as it is.
I share all of that, because I am just crazy enough to think that every pastor’s kid really doesn’t grasp who they are and those around them who place the weight of that title on their shoulder’s don’t realize it either. Not in a sense of pity, but in a sense that there is far more sacrifice and sharing than they ever bargained for. That the pastor’s kid needs just as much if not more grace, because this is not easy on minds that did not say yes to this life of ministry…this life of sharing and of sacrifice.
It’s even a lesson I have begun to see I too need to be taught as Mike forces me to stop and not lose sight that our babies must come first as much as they can…that at the end of the day we don’t want them to feel like they lost out on us while everyone else gained what is theirs first. Pastor’s kids deal with their own adjustments accordingly, but I’m certain that they aren’t any less human than the next child and that has to be okay. I love when older women remind me that my baby is still a baby and they cry and scream sometimes. That Kai doesn’t have to always be polite, because he is three and who really cares about manners. It reminds me to let them breathe, that we don’t have to keep it all packaged and together just right. That someone isn’t going to lose their salvation because Kai screamed “I don’t like you!” instead of saying good afternoon.
Pastor’s kids aren’t bad, and trust me I’ve heard it about Kai so often it gets under my skin sometimes. They are just kids who didn’t ask for a title or the expectations we force upon them. I know that many adults feel the same way…