Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Secret to Successful Parenting in the Parsonage

Mother's Day is near, and I'm reflecting on the challenges of raising children in what some say is a glass house. Entering the ministry with three little ones, I remember my fears and prayers for the Pastor's kids I called mine. My toddlers are now grown with babies of their own. With praise to God and encouragement to you I report they all love the Lord and thrived with parents in ministry.

What's the secret to successful parsonage parenting?

Prayer, for sure. But also, mom's and dad's attitude about your child and ministry.

Don't put expectations on your children because they are the Pastor's Kids.  Going to church every service, memorizing Scripture, having devotions, living a God-honoring lifestyle should be taught and expected by every Christian parent — not because their dad is Pastor, but because they are Christian.

Don't expect perfection from your child.  We all make mistakes and every person sins. There are times our children will disappoint us, no matter what roof covers their heads. We cannot expect perfection from any child. The Pastor's offspring are sinners too.

Focus on the positive aspects of ministry throughout your child-rearing years. Think on these benefits when negative feelings and fears creep into your mind:

1. The Pastor's hours are flexible. He's able to run home in an emergency or work from home if mommy is sick and needs help.

2. The Pastor is gone many nights, but he can be home in time to see his children after school. When my husband had night meetings, he came home in the afternoon for special time with his kids. Remember there are some CEO's who work every night until 9:00 and see their children on weekends only.

3. Opportunities abound for the Pastors' kids to learn about the world as they meet and interact with International Workers and hear of the worldwide work of Christ. Take advantage of moments to expose your children to God's servants.

4. Ministry may mean moving. Changing locations brings short-term trauma, but long-term strength as siblings unite and conquer new places of ministry.

5. The Pastor's children are under the influence of their father's weekly preaching. What a blessing. Some children know little of what their dads do all day. Not so, the Pastor's kid.

6. Pastors' kids may share in ministry with their parents. My husband loved taking our children with him to visit dear ones sick at home or in nursing homes. Oh how the elderly love seeing little children.

7. Camping vacations were all we could afford in the early days of ministry and became our children's favorite memories. Who doesn't love camping! Theme parks weren't in our budget, but the family fun of a grand hike up an Adirondack mountain with lunch tucked in our back packs and enjoyed when we reached the peak created memories our children are repeating with their children. Use your imagination and create fun that doesn't cost dollars. Those are the days your children will treasure.

8. Your children are known by name, loved, and prayed for by an entire congregation, your denomination's leaders, and workers around the world. Perhaps, those prayers are the greatest benefit of all.

Dan and I weren't perfect parents and we didn't raise perfect children. But, we did focus on the postive aspects of ministry thoughout our child-rearing years. Give yourself a splash of serenity and enjoy the life God called you to live, trusting the One who placed you exactly where He planned before any of your children were born.

Please bless me and other readers by sharing your secrets to successful parsonage parenting.

"All the days ordained for me were written in your book
 before one of them came to be." 
Psalm 139:16

Splashes of serenity prayed for your parsonage!


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I would love hearing from you! Thanks for sharing!