As I write this, am listening to Ed Sheeran’s new album, Divide. It’s one hell of an album! Look at the title of this again, crazy that am listening to this? No? Well good to know.
There is a lot of scrutiny, judgement, expectations, superstitions, stories and responsibilities that come with being a preacher’s kid or a pastor’s kid. Sometimes we just call ourselves the PKs. Sounds cool huh? It’s not easy to be a PK. Everything you say, everything you touch, everything you eat, how you dress, whom you talk to becomes a major topic of discussion at the church and among your peers. There is a specific way that we PKs are expected to live. Make a small diversion and you might as well tattoo your own forehead with the word “sinner”.
PKs are expected to be holy. Even holier than the preachers themselves. What people fail to understand is that we PKs are not the preachers. We are the kids. In the same way, being a thief’s child does not qualify one to be a thief. Debatable.
Some of the PKs become so later in their lives when the parents become preachers. These ones face bigger challenges as they have to adjust to a new lifestyle. Some, like me, are born into it. We do not need to adjust, pastors raise us. We know how it is. We know right from wrong right from childhood. We attend all Sunday school services, we participate in all the activities of the church, we live in the limelight of the congregation. We know all the church elders by name. We are expected to grow up like saints. But we are not; at least I know I am not.
You know that saying ‘where much is given much is expected?’ well, it doesn’t apply to us PKs. What is given to us is criticism, radicalization, talks of how much we are really bad, how much we are the defiant souls and how some are a big disappointment; and yet what is expected is an angel. How is that even possible? People really?
I have been in boarding schools most of my life. In class 7, I remember being chosen to be the Sunday School prefect. Yes, it was a thing. My main duties were to ensure that the lower classes, that is class 4 and 5 had a smooth service, were organized well during the services, and ensured that I safely kept the offertory until the main service was over. No biggie right? Well, I hated it. I was chosen purely based on the fact that my father was a big man of the cloth and was highly respected in my school. That was my only qualification. Just that. My wonderful leadership qualities were not paramount in the decision making. Aside from being exempted from manual work, I never saw any other advantage in that responsibility. I also have problems with having people look up to me. I am not a role model. I refuse to be responsible for someone when trying to live like me fails. I was super excited when I didn’t have to be a prefect anymore. My replacement was a very staunch SDA, and again, that was her only qualification. She had a hard time though, it was an Anglican school.
In primary school the teachers kept looking at me and seeing a good girl. A PK. Someone who can mentor others. I am not saying am not a good girl, am just saying classifying me in that category fully would be a lie to everyone. People rarely focused on me as a person. It was always me as the PK. I was very good in Maths. My lowest score back then was 90%. One time I was leading in a maths test, and when I was receiving my badge, our headmistress says “girls, be like Paula. Prayers help in academic excellence”. I rolled my eyes. Yes, I would pray once in a while, but you can’t pass maths without practice. Give me some credit damn it!
In high school, I remember joining the CU and being a very active member. But then somewhere along the way, I just got bored. Why you ask? Quite a charming number of the members are what the common man calls pretenders, hypocrites. These are the people who would be so prayerful on weekend challenge (a whole weekend of prayers) and become a perfect example of bad influence the next week. These are the people who would ask you in some weird accent to raise your hands as you worship God, (they always pronounced it as guard) and at the end of every week, they are the ringleaders when it comes to writing diss letters to brother schools. I couldn’t take it. It was so much pretense I left. Then came the issue of being a PK who does not attend CU. People can talk! Eventually they got over that.
Let’s get real for a while, when you are in class with a PK, what do you expect? Quick list. Long skirt, Bible genius, generous to all, kind in all manner of ways, church lover. You mention it. Basically the textbook good girl. What happens when good girl here is caught in a scandal? Any scandal actually. What happens? People talk. What do they say? “Ata mtoto wa pastor pia?” “Hao ndio hua wameharibika sana”. I have heard these words so often they are now irritating to my ears. I don’t give a *insert any curse word*
I once found myself in some crazy scandal back in high school. I still hate how the principal handled the whole situation. Good girl here was suspended and that was the beginning of my ‘rebellion’. I was punished for a mistake I did not commit. I was very bitter. And, hey, which PK gets suspended? From then, I stopped caring about what teachers and fellow students would say. I wasn’t going to be just a PK. That will not be my legacy. Oh, and I did leave a mark in the school. And it’s not as a PK.
My school life was mainly being classified as PK. Until I changed all that. If I were to narrate the stories of my mischievous acts in school, I would get all sorts of reactions. The most common one will be “Na wewe ni mtoto wa Pastor?”
I am now in my final year of university. And guess what, until a month ago, very few people knew am a PK. I love it that way. I can live my life as I want. No posters attached to my life.
Being a PK is a good thing until it’s all that you are. It’s all that defines you. It’s all people see when they look at you. Everyone wants to establish their own mark in the world, no one wants to be remembered as so and so’s person.
I have survived school. As far as I am concerned, that was the toughest part of all this.
This is an introduction. Since we are all aware that I am a PK, we are ready to move to phase two. Life as a Preacher’s Kid: Social Life.