It was an informal lunchtime at home. A couple of kids in the kitchen, a few of us scattered in the living and dining room. Owen and Pedro sat at the dining room table across from one another. Since he had been working from home, Pedro's laptop was in front of him with his plate on one side. As he held a slice of pizza in one hand, he read from the book he was currently studying in the other hand.
"Daddy, look! This is you," Owen said. He held a hand up to his face, pretending to read an imaginary book while he took a bite of pizza. "And when you're not reading a book, this is you -" and Owen clicked his fingers in the air over an imaginary keyboard. "You're always reading a book, or writing on your computer!" he complained.
We all chuckled a bit, and I reminded Owen that studying and preparing and teaching is Daddy's job - something he has to do, and wants to do. But I was observing closely and trying to perceive the underlying thoughts and emotions at play. Owen has always been "Daddy's boy" and lately he has been complaining when Pedro is away in the evenings or at bedtime. I've tried to point out that most little boys don't have their dads available for lunchtime and school pick up and even occasionally to take them to track and field practice, as his daddy can sometimes do. In fact, most little boys in our city say goodbye to their dads on Sunday night and don't see them again for a week due to shifts at the mine (however, they do get them back for a whole week after that.)
With his somewhat flexible work schedule, Pedro takes the kids to school and pops in and out throughout the day. But often in the evening he has responsibilities because that is when our church folks are available for visitation and discipleship. With school in full gear most of our afternoon time is spent on homework, and with church in full gear most of our weekends are spent in ministry. I will confess that even on our "off" time we've been mentally preoccupied of late. I don't want my children to get the "scraps" of our attention and good moods, but sometimes that is exactly what happens.
I was encouraged today in light of these transitions and "growing pains" in our family to read this post: "The View From the Eyes of the Pastor's Kid." I appreciate the ministry of this blog towards pastor's wives and families. And for those who might read this who have experience in this as well, I'd love to hear how God has helped you to find a healthy balance between family and ministry.
It's a strange feeling to be looking from the outside in. All of my life I have been the "pastor's kid" and even as an adult I have sometimes felt a twinge of frustration and regret when my wonderful dad is called away from a family gathering to minister to someone else. At the same time, I am tremendously proud of him and how God continues to use him to touch the lives of others. I want my children, too, to learn to appreciate the privilege and responsibility of the job of pastor, not to resent it. With God's help, I know this is possible!