My dad is a Baptist preacher.
Which makes me a preacher’s kid. And depending on your perspective, that means I’m either a goody two shoes, or a rebellious hellion.
As the eldest of three pastor’s kids, I didn’t really stand a chance against perfectionistic tendencies. This explains why I tried so hard to fit into a straight-laced box. Unfortunately, the halo kept slipping off the side of my head.
Growing up as the child of a preacher lends to a unique childhood experience, no doubt. But when you’re a Baptist preacher’s kid in a small Oklahoma town…well that puts it’s own special spin on things.
Here’s some insight that’s guaranteed not to change your life. (Unless it makes you more compassionate to those of us who were often sermon illustrations.)
16 Random Facts About My Life as a Preacher’s Kid
1. I know every line to (almost) every hymn in the Baptist hymnal. Except for the 3rd verses, of course. Because we skipped those.
2. If righteousness could be earned by church attendance, then I’m paid up for a lifetime. Because Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights were reserved for church. No exceptions.
3. All I knew about Bart Simpson was from the Butterfinger commercials. Because that show was outlawed in our household. Along with Married with Children, Dirty Dancing, Roseanne, and any kind of MTV. Because that Like a Prayer video was a work of the Devil, I’m telling you what.
(What I overheard my grandmother say to my father, after she caught me watching it.)
I also didn’t know the joy of Super Bowl commercials until college. Because, Sunday night.
4. My life was sermon material. It’s one thing to be the center of attention, and quite another to have everyone turn and laugh at you during the middle of a sermon. Especially if you are in the middle of drawing pictures in the back of the hymnal, and now the entire congregation has caught you redhanded…so, blaming your sister is no longer an option.
(Not that I did that or anything.)
5. Most Saturday evenings of my childhood consisted of a trip to the hospital…to visit a member of the congregation who was either sick or recovering from surgery. And at least once a month, we hung out at the nursing home.
How’s that for awesomeness?
6. Altar calls were not exactly comfortable. Since anything you needed to address with God went through your dad first.
So I just waited for church camp, where I could “rededicate” my life without having to talk to Dad about it.
7. I was unbeatable at Bible drills and scripture memory. Which isn’t so much a by-product of special preacher-kid skills, but mostly because I owned more Bibles by the age of 10 than most people have in a lifetime.
(And maybe a little because I worked hard for the halo.)
8. According to my sister, we weren’t allowed to wear nail polish to church. I wasn’t much for nail polish, but my middle sister, Julie, claims she wasn’t allowed to wear it. Apparently chipped nail polish was the sign of a sinner. (Actually, I think this one is more accurately filed under the column of “Your Mom Might Be OCD If…”)
9. You went to Disney World. I went to Vacation Bible School. But that was okay with me, because it was my favorite week of the summer. This either speaks to my love for Jesus, or the absence of the Disney channel in our home.
Speaking of real vacations, ours were spent at the Southern Baptist Convention. And that’s not even a joke.
10. “Well, you know what they say about preacher’s kids...” If I could drop a dollar in the offering plate every time someone said that to me, the church could feed the poor across twelve states for nine years.
This comment takes an interesting twist in adulthood. Because when people learn that I grew up as a preacher’s kid, they size me up to determine which version I became. Since I’m obviously not Katy Perry, they assume I took the more Jesus-like route. So they often offer excuses for why they missed church last Sunday.
11. I stole the communion wafers from behind the pulpit on a semi-regular basis. Semi-regular meaning that I only did this when I was sure not to get caught.
(You know what they say about preacher’s kids…)
12. I studied the church directory as though I would be quizzed. Because it’s embarrassing when everyone knows your name…but you don’t know everyone else’s.
p.s. the directory may have also served as our comic book. Because those pictures aren’t terribly flattering. (Is that bad?) (I’m sorry.)
13. I lived to keep my name out of the paper. From a young age, I was aware that someone would find out if I messed up. And if I really blew it, the whole town would know, because my name would show up in the Court House Records section of the weekend paper.
Which just might keep some people out of heaven or something. You know, because that verse about the stumbling block thing and all.
Truth be told, I wasn’t so much at risk for that as my youngest sister was. (Because I tried to be perfect and couldn’t make it. She decided not to even try.)
14. Daylight savings time was the worst weekend of the year. I was in college when I discovered that 2:00am was the official time to set the clocks back. Because Dad always set our clocks back at 8:00pm on Saturday night. (Heaven forbid we be late for church!)
Basically his clock issues ruined my life once a year.
15. Summer vacations were canceled for funerals. I understand that it’s shallow to be upset about missing a little vacation, when I should really just be thankful for life and all that. But seriously. Try telling that to an 8 year old.
16. Frilly dresses, tights, patent leather shoes, and fold-over socks trimmed with lace. Our non-negotiable Sunday uniform. My Methodist friends got to wear jeans. They also got out of church 15-20 minutes earlier than we did. Life was so unfair.
There’s so much more to write here, because I didn’t even talk about tithing or cemeteries. I’ll save it for another day. Because I really need to go google where to find those communion wafers.
See you soon…
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