Yes I am a "Preachers Daughter"... What about it?
Growing up I never really understood the stipulation behind being a “Preacher's Daughter”. I slowly realized by maturing and growing, that everyone thinks that if you are a daughter of a pastor… you are a whore. Yes I said it. In a nutshell that is what they think if you are a girl and a pastor's kid. The boys always have a stigma that they have to be the man that their father was or better. In reality being a child who has a father or a mother who is a pastor of a church can kind of be a rollercoaster. So let's talk about it, let's talk about the emotions of guilt, the striving for perfection, and the most important question… “Did you lose your faith?” I will let you know what it really means to be a “Preachers Daughter” “You must have been coddled and spoiled growing up”
So here is the thing, everyone thinks that my whole life I was basically kept from the whole world. That I was not allowed to experience things in life. Now when I say you are wrong, but you are not wrong at the same time… let me explain. So I was allowed to watch some scary movies, you know, as long as it did not have anything sexual or too bloody. The ones we did get to watch were almost so creepy I probably would have watched something like “Texas Chainsaw” but no when my dad and brother watched that movie me and my sister had to go sit in our room and not listen. Even though we were sitting at the door and listening to all the crazy that was happening. So we were allowed different things like that but I was not allowed to watch… you probably guessed it, “Harry Potter”. So anything that was magical or anything that kind of pertained to witchcraft I was not allowed to watch it. Little did my dad know I was tuning into “Wizards of Waverly Place” every time I got my hands on the remote. Now I was also allowed to watch YouTube, makeup was my life so a majority of the videos I was watching were tutorials and hauls.
It is hard to compare my life as a pastor's kid to being the same as other pastors' kids. Now I think the stigmas and stereotypes will never differ, people don't look at individual people, everyone is guilty of grouping anyone who shares the same thing in life together and calling them something. I did not grow up with a two parent household, and my dad actually wasn't in the church my whole life. Our family went through a huge change, and the time that my father needed the church the most they hurt him. The church turned their back on my father, and at the time I was a very young child, so church really did not start becoming a core memory for me until I started getting older. Eventually my dad realized his pain isn't forever, my dad had to be so strong for us. When I say “us” I mean my older brother, my older sister, and me. My dad was a single dad, who came from pastoring and evangelizing, to working a retail job trying to provide for the three kids he has at home, to raise all alone. If only he knew when I looked at him all I saw was the strongest daddy in the whole world, the dad that provided for us, the one who I knew was hurting, I knew was in pain, but he never failed to let us know just truly how much he loves us. So yes and no, yes I was spoiled in a sense because I knew what love was.
I may not have known what being “in love" was, but I knew that my father loved me. I did not grow up in chaos, and honestly I am very thankful and grateful to be able to even say that. I was in fact, not raised as the “Norm” of a Christian household. Now I say this with a grain of salt, only because the “Norm” can be for various denominations. Now when my dad started pastoring a church it was a Pentecostal Church, but for as long as I can remember my dad never made me and my sister follow the “Holiness Standard” which is understandable. We lived a lot of years already not dressing in the Pentecostal Dress Code. Why would he force us to abide by a rule he doesn't even biblically agree with?
Growing Up in the Church So from this point on, we were at church every Sunday morning and night, and every wednesday. We did not miss one day. To be quite honest with you, I loved church. We had a community there. Before my parents split, my dad moved to a state none of his family was in and basically let God take him. So when I started to gain this family at church it was nice. I never really got to see my distant family, we got together I want to say like once a year, but I still longed for that connection with other people. So after being at this church for a few years I started picking up the stigmas for being a “Preacher's Daughter”. I started to understand what people thought about it. Sometimes I would get the normal “oh You are a preacher's daughter?... I bet you are bad huh?” Like what kind of question even is that. Now don't get me wrong, I did some questionable things when I was younger, but asking if I am bad because I am a pastor's child was weird to me.
Here is the reality of this, when I would make a bad decision for me it wasn't the actual act of doing the bad decision that made me hate myself. It was afterward, knowing what you did was really bad, and really bad when I know the creator of the whole world thinks what you did was bad. I would get in the headspace of literally hating myself. I do not think that knowing what I did was bad, it was the whole Secular Religion that taught me that I was doomed to hell for those decisions I made. I remember bawling on the pew, begging God to forgive me for what I did. As a kid I did not really understand how Grace works thankfully I do know now. Anyway back to the point is that as a pastor's child you are there at every service, for every word you hear. I heard all the teachings, I do not think my brain was ready to try and process the things that I heard in church. (By that I mean that, some of the teachings were not based on the word of God, and emotional based.) So it was very easy for me to be very hard on myself, and dislike the things I wanted to do so much, that I grew a hate for myself.
I need to be perfect…
I always had to need in my life to be “perfect”. Now let me explain being inside a small town church is slightly competitive. Like any environment the women are dressed to their best, and looking cute but it is almost like a game of “who is dressed the most holy and cute”. I strived every Sunday morning to look my best, and dress cute. Now I also had to carry myself differently. I was the pastor's child. This goes more when I get older. At a point the church lost the people who played music for us, and I had been learning to play the piano. I was slightly self taught. I can not read music, and I only know chords. But my father still used me on the stage. Then me and my sister and my father took over praise and worship. I want to say I was around thirteen or fourteen years old when I actually started playing and singing on stage. It was a huge responsibility to do this. I thought that I had to sound perfect. I wanted to sound perfect. As a young teen… That was a lot of pressure. Not only did I have to play the piano and sing, at one point I took over Sunday school when I was just a kid myself. I wanted to be the one doing the crafts and art, but instead I was putting on the art projects, and trying to teach other kids stories about the Bible that I really needed to learn myself. So I was put in positions that put a lot of pressure on me. That is okay. I was molded into who I am now. I am okay with it, I feel like God needed to see if I could handle the responsibility and now I am okay with it. Back then I was not so okay with it. We would have town services where all the churches in the town got together and sang and ate and stuff. It was cool. But the not cool part of this is that me and my sister had to get on the stage and represent our church in front of a lot more people that we are used to singing in front of. Not to mention I have to play the piano AND sing. So striving to be perfect is something I am used to.
The reality of being a “Preacher's Daughter”
This is the reality, I am full of self doubt. I am constantly reminding people that I am not the stereotype of a “preacher's daughter”. I have always been put in situations where I worry about what other people think of me. I am always wondering in my head, “Am I good enough?” I do not fault my father for this, I do not even fault the church. I honestly do not fault anyone. I know that all the pressure I was under to do a good job, did result in me now being an adult, controlling every aspect that I can so I can make sure I know that what people see will be my best. I think that I made decisions as a teen that did not stem from the “rebellion aspect” . I made decisions because I was hurt and lost. From the time I was a little girl, I was pretty used to inside pain. Like keeping it so far inside of you, no one was allowed to see your pain. I was not taught this but I learned this. If that makes sense. I watched everyone around me hide their pain, the main ones were my dad and my mother. I was not around my mom a whole lot as a child, but I did know that she had pain and troubles. That she kept it hidden also. The same as my dad, I knew he had pain. I knew he dealt with stress, but I never saw it come to surface. He always held it together, and he kept his emotions within. I am talking about the decisions I made because the stereotype is that being a “preacher's daughter” is that I probably went crazy and slept with a bunch of guys and drank a lot and did drugs because I was sheltered, and spoiled and not allowed to do anything I wanted to so when I got old enough I did everything. That's not true… I did those things because I lived a life of hurt, and sadness. I lived a life of joy and happiness too. Just like everyone else who walks this earth.
So in conclusion being a “preacher's daughter” is not as weird or strange that you would think it would be. I faced my own challenges, I was held accountable in a different type of way. I was held to a biblical standard. I am actually kind of happy about that. I would not have the relationship with God that I do now if my life did not go that way. I know that there is good and bad that comes with being in the church almost your whole life. If you would ask me “Do you still have your faith in God?”. I think that would be a very easy question for me to answer. First of all, I have more faith in God now that I am older and I am able to understand God the way He wants me to understand Him. To your surprise, maybe not… When I was old enough to make my own decisions, nothing that I learned by being in church and being a Preacher's Daughter could have fixed the things that I did. I know that I was bound to make my own mistakes. I had two children out of wedlock, yes two… and they have different fathers. I just wanted to point this out. I did not find God being raised by a Preacher. I did not find God on the altar begging God for forgiveness. God came to me, when I was grown. When I had already made my bad decisions, when I felt the least worthy of God's Love, I remember pouring out my heart to Him and from that moment on, I know I can say I know who God is. I questioned Him and everything at one point, and the more I develop a relationship with Him the more questions I have. Us “Preachers Daughters” are basically the same as you. I think no matter how you are raised, if you have a curious mind you are going to make mistakes and… that is normal.
Jordan Caite Tynan