My five year old daughter Shannon has taken to going with me to all three churches on Sunday morning. We have good Mommy-Shannon time, and she enjoys being with all the different folks. Most importantly, she enjoys the donuts, in duplicate or triplicate depending upon the day.
As we were leaving service #2 this past week, Shannon was asking me again about calling. She asked me if being a pastor is what God told me to do. I said (again) that this is what God has called me to do. Then she asked if I had to decide also. I told her yes, figuring out the path God wants for your life also means deciding to follow the path. I told her it's a process called "discernment" when a person tries to figure out what God wants them to do with their life, and then doing it.
As we got to the car she said "Mommy, I am glad you're a pastor." These words have been ringing in my heart ever since.
I asked her "because it's fun?" Shannon replied, "yes, it's fun. I think I want to be a pastor too."
This from the girl who last week asked me why I couldn't just stay home and please stop working.
I think most (perhaps all) pastors have a special anxiety about raising kids in the context of the local church. Pastor's Kids (PKs) are renowned throughout the generations for being rebellious, poorly adjusted kids who wither in the spotlight that is their life. Ok, this is a slight exaggeration. But the spotlight part does cause anxiety.
I was talking with a PK who is now a pastor around a dinner table a few weeks ago, and someone asked her for advice about raising children in the church. Her reply was that her parents rule was that church folks were not allowed to expect anything of the pastor's children that they would not expect of their own children. I think that is great advice, and I am planning to tuck it away for future teenage year use.
For now, I am basking in the fact that my daughter enjoys having a pastor for a mommy.