I have a confession to make:
I am a preacher’s daughter.
My dad has been in ministry ever since I can remember. He’s an elder in the denomination I grew up in and gets to sit right next to the pastor in the pulpit. As much as that can be interpreted as subtle sarcasm, it is not actually was not meant to be. It can be a wonderful experience to have a father that has answered the Lord’s call and devoted himself to the ministry. However, being a preacher’s daughter is something that most people will never completely understand.
First of all, growing up I always felt the pressure to be more than simply “good enough” beause anything I did would reflect negatively on his parenting and ultimately his ministry. Whether this fear was real or irrational, I don’t completely know. But I do know that there definitely are those people that judge others based on the choices of their children which is completely unfair. Even now, I still feel people question everything that I am becoming as I venture out into the world on my own.
Second, you are forever identified by whose child you are. In certain circles, if I say my last name I am already associated as an elder’s daughter. Again, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but people often carry preconceived notions about who I am and what I should act like. Sometimes it just nice to be Haley, with absolutely no association to my dad’s ministry.
Third, when your father plays an important role in the running of the church, it may mean that you almost live at church (especially if it’s on the smaller side). If the doors were open, you were probably there. “I’m tired” was never a valid excuse.
Fourth, people always want to talk to you, but it’s hardly ever about the things you actually want to talk about, at least until you get older. No one realizes that preachers’ kids question their faith, leave the church, have life struggles. If you know a preacher’s kid, give them a break from the church and take them to a playground or a movie or coffee. That’s where real life happens anyway.
Fifth, my dad being a preacher is not the only reason I’m a Chrstian. Yes, my parents raised me in church and showed me love and taught me about God (it is truly a blessing), but in the end, if I had never had a personal experience with God, I WOULD NOT be following Christ.
Lastly, not all preachers’ kids are destined for the ministry. That is a particular call God has placed on some of our lives, but not all. It is okay for a pk to go into business, medicine, science, or any other field that’s not full-time ministry. And it is perfectly fine if they make that their place of ministry.
Trust me, it is a wonderful blessing to a have a father that is able to speak the word of God to others and tries to embody what it means to be a man of God. But as a preacher’s daughter, I think my life is pretty normal, lacking any special expectations or requirements. It’s a part of who I am, but not necessarily my identity.
I am just Haley.