Friday, September 3, 2010

Keeping it in the family

So a couple of times in the last week LadyPrincess has mentioned that she wants to be a pastor. She's only 5 and hasn't started kindergarten (4 more days!) so I don't take this as a declaration of a call or anything, but I do find it interesting. I don't remember saying at the age 5, "Gee mom, I want to be an insurance company administrative assistant." (Of course, in the early '80s I would have just said "secretary.") But then I didn't see my mom in action at her job every week (or like this last couple of weeks almost every day), so I wouldn't have even known how to say that.

One day the conversation came up when she was deciding what job she thinks her younger brother, Godzilla, should have when he grows up. (Maybe headhunter should be one of her options). She thought he should be a veterinarian since he wouldn't be scared of the animals, and he's not allergic to Labradors (something she thinks she is). I asked her what kind of thing she thought she might like to do, and she said quickly, "I want to be what you are! That job is easy!"

Trying not let myself get offended by the words of a 5 year old I asked her what she thought I did. "Well, you write sermons, give speeches, visit the nursing home, and pray. That stuff is easy." Well, OK. I didn't get into the finer points of struggling over a sermon when the creative spirit seems to have left for the night, but that's for another day. A few days later she declared out of no where at dinner, "Mommy, it's OK when you die. I'll just be the pastor of the church."

Hopefully not any time soon, sweetheart.

All of this got me thinking, I wonder what research, if any, has been done on pastoring as "the family business." I mean, how many of us get into this have other close relatives who are also pastors? I knew more than a few classmates in seminary whose fathers and grandfathers were pastors, none whose mothers were I don't think. We had a couple of sibling sets in our school, and most of those had it "in the genes."

I guess this is sort of normal in a number of different careers (maybe many?), but as I thought about it I wondered if I'll ever sound like one of those Hollywood parents who tries to talk their kids out of acting. I hope not. I hope that I'm always finding great joy and satisfaction in what I feel called to do. I hope that I always feel called to do it as long as I'm doing it. Does that make sense?

Also does God really come knocking in certain families more than others? Does a call to ordained ministry come more often in these family or is it just more like to be recognized once the "dynasty" has been established? My guess is the latter which actually makes me want to watch my congregation more carefully. Are there people among us that have never considered a call because they wouldn't even know where to start, what it looks like, how it works in real life?

I have no idea WHAT LadyPrincess will be when she grows up. It is definitely fun asking her to see what she observes about the world and the people who work in it. She has some personality characteristics that would serve an ordained ministry well, but we're a long way off from that. I guess I just wouldn't want her to consider it only because it's what I do. I hope I don't ever give her the impression that doing what I do is the only thing that would make me happy or proud of her.

Interesting. Just one more thing to worry and pray about as I mother my daughter!

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