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In Theory: Do pastors' kids have it tough?

May 16, 2013

Growing up can be tough, but children of preachers face an extra element — the added pressure to keep up appearances and not give in to temptation.

Also dealing with the church takes up a lot of parents' time, and that means more stress and more temptation to rebel. In the article, "Beneath the stereotypes, a stressful life for preachers' kids," on Religious News Service, Jay Bakker, the son of televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, says that as a preacher's child, he was expected to be happy all the time, even during tough periods. "You start to feel like you're a prop because you know that behind the scenes, mom and dad fought on the way to church," Bakker says. In the book, "A Practical Guide to Rabbinic Counseling," Israel N. Levitz writes, "...the higher expectations placed upon children of clergy create for them inordinate difficulties in growing up," and says that many act up in an attempt to assert their own identities.

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Q: Do you think the children of pastors have a tough time?

It's tough just being a kid these days. The entertainment they're exposed to has reached all-time moral lows. Technology has ramped up exposure to all kinds of temptations and ways to get into trouble. Public schools have become places where open, gross immorality is tolerated. Pastors' kids are exposed to all of these things, but they also have the extra pressure of others' expectations to be perfectly behaved in the midst of it all, biblically knowledgeable, and often self-sufficient when their parents' time is taken up serving others. Even when others don't actively pressure clergy kids, they often take it upon themselves.

God is not unjust. I believe he rewards the sacrifices demanded of clergy kids. When Peter reminded Jesus that he and the disciples had left all to follow him, Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for my sake and for the Gospel's sake, but that he shall receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life" (Mark 10:29-30).

Pastors' kids do have a tough time, but they also have a good God who appreciates every sacrifice they make.

Pastor Jon Barta
Valley Baptist Church
Burbank

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It all depends on the kid.

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