I wasn’t even pregnant when I heard the advice that has most shaped my parenting philosophy: Make sure your family tells a better story.
This stirred my heart and laid the foundation for my approach to parenting. I wasn’t likely to win my (future) children’s hearts by pressure and appeals to duty. Instead, I wanted them to feel our family enjoyed one another, and that we have a shared purpose in loving our neighbors. Since then, almost every parenting decision has been filtered through this original idea of telling a better story. I want all my kids to feel they have a role in this story. I want them to see how their unique interests can be used to love their neighbors as themselves. I want them to feel that being a part of a family is a privilege and a joy, and that our faith in Jesus is not the end goal but the starting point for the adventurous life of faith. My husband and I both agree that our maturity was a result of being excited about our faith rather than feeling like faith was a chore. We wanted to replicate that for our kids (and this article is my attempt to explain how we’re going about doing that.)
I had originally hoped someone else would volunteer to write about raising the pastor’s kids for our series Letters to the Hearts of Pastors’ Wives at Servants of Grace. I wasn’t sure I knew how to write about our philosophy of parenting since we don’t really follow a method or a set of rules that would be easy to explain. But then my son Luke gave me the perfect metaphor for our parenting philosophy: He finally agreed to jump in and join us while we were swimming. Not because of my nagging, but because he finally realized how much fun we were all having without him. Once I have a good metaphor I’m usually off and running. Although this article is dedicated to Pastor’s Wives, it really applies to all parents who feel pressured to make their kids behave. We can be tempted to pressure our kids or fill their lives with rules because we are focused on the short-term goal of having our kids look well-behaved. Instead, I propose we keep our eyes on the long term goal of having kids who share our values voluntarily. So, I present to you: Raising the Pastor’s Kids. I hope you’ll read and be encouraged.