As pastoral families, we know we all live in the “Fishbowl.” It is hard and lonely at times, but as hard as it is for the pastor and spouse, it is even harder on the children. Life in the fishbowl for them is so complex and hard.
Today I would like to share some suggestions from another pastor’s wife on “How to Raise Your Children in the Fishbowl?”
What a BIG question!!
Always remember and always commit to being your child’s protector and guide. There is a great saying in England, “Mind the Gap.” It refers to the “gap” that is present between the platform and train that is quite dangerous and easily stepped into. It is common to see signs that caution “Mind the Gap” and is a common practice of people to verbally mind others to “Mind the Gap.”
As parents we need to be the ones to “Mind the Gap” for our children. The “Gap” is inappropriate expectations that are put on our children. A pastor’s 3 or 16-year-old is going to act like any other person’s 3 or 16-year-old. Our responsibility is to teach them appropriate behavior for their age and then guide them through carrying it out. Too much stress and strain put on us results in putting too much stress and strain on our children.
Be willing and proactive to communicate to our own children our appropriate expectations of behavior and keep the door open for them to come back to us when they are feeling the strain that others put on them.
No matter what stage you enter ministry, before children or when they are young toddlers or teens, take care to be your children’s advocate and “Mind the Gap”, guiding them successfully into and through the life of ministry you hope will inspire them to serve and not discourage them and cause them to flee.
“Living in the fishbowl” can serve as a positive and healthy experience if approached correctly with care.
Our vision here at Care for Pastors is: To see every pastoral family persevering in ministry, developing a healthy church and leading in community transformation. Therefore, it is our goal to provide care for the entire family. We are pressing into the PK area this year and are here to help any way we can on your family’s ministry journey.