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What is it like to be a pastor's kid, to grow up in both the spotlight and the shadow?
Recently LEADERSHIP received a note from Lorina Marsch of Winnipeg, Manitoba: "My husband is minister-at-large for the Mennonite Brethren churches in Canada. On our travels, we meet many pastor families and get firsthand stories of their lives. One story that touched our hearts came by way of a letter written in January 1988 just before the installation of Albert and Dianne Friesen in the pastorate of a Winnipeg church. They have two children; Jared was 8, and Dana, the writer, was 10 at the time. The letter reveals hidden expectations toward PKs and how the kids themselves feel about it. Many other pastors' children share in the poignant plight revealed here."
Here, with Dana's permission, is the letter she wrote to her pastor parents:
Dear Mom and Dad,
Jared and I have never been right in front of a church, and you have. We are a litle nervis and you are not. You have many friends at church and we don't, it is that people only say hi or bye-bye. People invight us only to talk to you, there is nothing ready for us. Eaven if there are some kids there, it's sad that we have to be the oldest kids. You get to be with your friedns and do what you want with them more often then we do. And you can have more fun with them as we do.
All we have is a litle short recess and otherwise we have to do work in school. So, what we mean is that you are not that nervis about tomorrow morning standing infront of the hwole church. You also have bin standing infront of people that you don't know, we haven't. And Dad is known at many places, we are litle and it seems as if we are nothing. We are part of the hwole thing, just like you. It is not that we are too yung to be part of anything. What we mean now is that someone like Dad that almost everyone knowes is at church. It seems as if everyone will egnore us and they will only look at you (Mom and Dad).
Another reason for you two not to be nervis is that you (Dad) are a pastor and we are just normal kids.
Now don't be tired reading this because we have a lot to say yet!
The other people will look at us strangely and wonder why we are up there at the front because we are such normal kids. It will be so imberassing for the other people to see us at the front for nothing. It will be so imberassing to be in front of so very many new people. There is no reason for you to be nervis because so many people know you already, in other words you are popular in many different places.
We have to ask you some thing. It is very, very, very important. If we behave, will we be able to have a litle snack? There are two things that we would like, and those two things are Smarties or Kit-Kat which are chocolate bars.
Dana and Jared
We hope you enjoyed reading our long, long letter. We also hope that you are not mad!
After a family conference in which the stresses and fears of the midyear move from the Alps of Austria to the plains of Canada were aired, Dana and Jared decided they would stand with their parents at the service. And they got their candy bars.
Copyright © 1989 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
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