Pastor’s kids are wild.
It’s a stereotype. A generalization. Something that people tend to believe without having any real facts to back it up. Anecdotal evidence from past experience is the best that most people can come up with and many of those are filled with half-truths at best. Everyone seems to have a story about the pastor’s kid who burned down the church building, or became a drug dealer, or robbed a convenience store, or forgot the words to Amazing Grace.
So far my kids haven’t done anything tremendously bad. I realize that this is because of their ages. I have a 9-year-old, a 7-year-old, two 6-year-olds, and a 2-year-old. They’ve broken plenty of things, hit/bit/kicked/scratched each other more times than I can count, and the boys can’t seem to grasp the idea that they aren’t supposed to pee on the outside of the toilet, but they haven’t done anything worthy of the stereotype. Yet.
But they have said plenty of things that have caused me to want to beat my head against unforgiving walls and hide under tables if I was small enough to be able to fit under tables.
A couple of years ago we were sitting at Burger King when I saw an elderly lady that has known me since I was a baby. While she is of advanced years, she works hard to make herself look younger. I mean really hard. As she approached our table, Matthew (who was 4 at the time) looked up at her and said–“W-W-W-Why are you so old?” Yes, that’s what he said. Maybe she couldn’t understand him because of the stutter or maybe she can’t hear very well since she is so old. Or maybe she heard him and chose to ignore what he said. I was just glad she didn’t hit me with her purse. Fact: old women carry purses heavier than Oldsmobiles.
Later that year while on vacation, we were walking around Wilmington, NC when I saw a man and his wife heading in our direction. Nothing out of the ordinary there, except that the man was wearing an eye-patch. Kid Rule #147 says that every man wearing an eye-patch must be a pirate who enjoys being pointed at and told that he is a pirate. Kid Rules are the only rules my kids never break. I tried to divert their attention before they saw him, but I was too late. I shushed them. I threatened them. I told them if they didn’t hush that he would make us all walk the plank. Nothing worked, they just kept yelling–“Look Daddy a Pirate! A real-life pirate!” They finally became quiet as we got closer to him. As he passed by us, he look at my kids and said–“Aaaarrrrgggghhhh, maties!” I’m glad he was a friendly pirate.
There have been plenty more. From asking people about warts they have on their faces to loudly asking why little people are so short, they have made plenty of cringe-inducing statements over the years. There was also the time we saw a church member at Target wearing a long overcoat. Matthew (who is the main speaker of embarrassing comments) asked her if she was naked under her coat. Thankfully she was not. Still, they haven’t yet learned to send all of their words through a filter before speaking them.
I really don’t want them to. Not all the time at least. Yes, it’s embarrassing at times. But I want them to continue to be honest, to not be afraid to tell me what’s on their minds. I know someday soon they’ll probably become more guarded with what they tell me. Until then I plan to enjoy the freedom of their words.
And I’ll be praying that they don’t become the stereotype. I’ll be praying that they will love God and love people with a passion that will fill them their whole lives through. I’ll be praying that they won’t be tempted to do things that will draw them away from God and if they are tempted that they will have the strength to resist. I’ll be praying that their lives won’t be wasted on the insignificant and that holiness will be as important to them as the air they breathe.
I know that they will fail and fall short of God’s standard over and over for the rest of their lives. They will fail and fall short not because they are bad, but because we are all bad. I’m a sinner who married a sinner and we have 5 little sinners who live with us. Because of this, I pray that they will depend upon God’s grace and run to him for forgiveness.
I’ll be praying the same for you, too. Whether you are an old woman, a pirate, a kid with a big mouth, an exhausted parent, or a person just trying to make it through life–God loves you.
Never forget it.
(Have your kids ever said anything to embarass you? Share away!)