You don’t have to be in ministry very long to realize your life is on display at all times and therefore, so are your children’s lives. I want to share with you today what one of our pastors’ wives on our Advisory Team has to say about this topic. Patti Johnson has three children and they were raised in a pastor’s home, so she has learned through the years how to balance ministry and that “fishbowl” life.
What would be some suggestions on raising 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 remind 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.
I pray that what Patti shared in her answer to that question offers you some insight and things to ponder upon as you raise your children in that “Fishbowl.” If you don’t have children, I am sure you can use this information as you mentor young moms.