As pastors’ wives, one of our first priorities, second only to our relationships with God and our husbands, is safeguarding our children. While some people believe the church should hold a higher place on our priorities’ list than our kids, I’m not of that camp. I believe that if we sacrifice our children on the altar of the church, we’ve wasted the most important opportunities for Kingdom advancement that God has given us.
Here are some areas where pastors’ wives need to take special care of our children:
1. Shield them from our tongue. As I mentioned in Tip #7, our children live in a fishbowl in which everything they say and do is up for scrutiny by church members. We need to be careful not to violate what little privacy they do have by posting embarrassing things on Facebook or telling everyone the awful way they treated their brother yesterday.
2. Insulate them from church information. When our husbands need to talk with us about frustrations at church or problems church folks are having, we must take care to have those talks out of the hearing of the children. We can’t simply assume that our two-year-old is too young to understand or that the television has our ten-year-old too occupied to hear. I don’t mean we should never tell our kids what’s going on at church; I do mean we must be intentional about what we say and when we say it.
3. Shelter them from heartbreak. Even among professing Christians, there are those who will use our kids as a means of “getting in good with the pastor.” While we don’t want to be overly suspicious, we’re responsible for protecting our children’s hearts from hurtful manipulation by those who will use their affections to gain power in the church. At times, people who have befriended our children will leave the church, sometimes with bad feelings toward our husbands. In those cases, we need to explain to our kids that those folks got upset with Daddy, not them. It’s our job to alleviate the hurt such breaks have on our children’s spirits.
4. Protect them from abuse. Since pastors’ families spend so much time at church, it’s easy for us to view the building as our home away from home. We need to be careful, though, of our children’s physical safety. Because they’re often allowed to roam the building unsupervised, pastors’ kids are especially susceptible to sexual abuse. We must remember that someone’s membership or regular attendance (whether that person is an adult or teen) does not mean they pose no threat to our kids. We need to talk to our children about what contact is and isn’t okay, and we need to encourage them to come to us with any concerns, reminding them that we won’t be angry with them if someone hurt them but that we will do our best to prevent them from ever being harmed again.
5. Guard them from themselves. Sometimes PKs get the idea they can boss other children or staff members at church. Other times they think church property is theirs for the taking. Still other times they believe their dad’s role as pastor necessitates their acceptance into Heaven. We must watch for these dangers to their souls and weed them out of our kids’ mindsets.
As pastors’ wives, we are to train up our children in righteousness, safeguard them when we can, and trust God to take care of them when we can’t.