13 November 2008

Whose Fault?

Given this is C and E, I figured I could go ahead and post for a change. I do read the blog and the comments, but today a conversation at work has inspired me to go ahead and see what people outside of my high school math department think.

First off, a little bit of background is needed. I was sitting in the math office during lunch and 3 other teachers were discussing the pastors at their relative churches. One of them was talking about how their pastor's daughter was pregnant and how she was so impressed with the pastors wife when she stood up in front of the congregation and took 100% responsibility for her daughter's situation and that she felt as though she was too busy caring for everyone else and forgot her own. The teacher then added, "it is still in part [the pastors] fault too." When I heard this, I had to chime in. I asked, "why isn't it the children's fault?" This led to a fairly heated conversation about if a pastor's child isn't perfect is it okay for a congregation to lose respect for the pastor...etc.

As a parent, I know that e and I will do all in my power to do the best to teach Rhett and help him to make good decisions. If he makes poor choices, we will do our best to support him and help him to overcome mistakes and grow from them. If he makes mistakes would it be okay for people to judge me? Better yet, if I were a bishop would it be more okay then? If the prophet's children make mistakes would we judge him for that? Should our positions within the church change how we are looked at when our children make mistakes? According to those here at work, our opinions should change. I could see passing judgement on a leader for their own mistakes and shortcomings, but should the actions of children lead to judgement on the parents?


Ruth said...

If you have actually witnessed poor parenting or know that the behavior is in someway linked to poor parenting then I think it is alright to place some of the blame on the parents. Generally speaking I think most of the blame lies with the child making the wrong choice.

I do not think it is alright to lose respect for a pastor, bishop, or whatever because of the actions of their child.This is just silly.

Adam and Eve raised both Cain and Abel. Do we blame them?

chucklas said...

I agree that poor parenting exists, and that it leads to poor behavior on the part of the children. I am a high school teacher, I see this all of the time. I am looking more at the comments about judging church leaders because of the actions of their kids. I totally agree with your Cain/Abel comment as well.

Meg said...

I think the answer lies in looking to the parent of us all. Do we blame God for all of His childrens actions here on earth? I don't think any of us would do that. We realize there is free agency. Perhaps we should apply the same to mortal parents.
That being said, I do think leaders are judged for the actions of their children. Leaders are suppose to be role models in everyway and that includes parenting. I think it's human nature to expect perfection - even when the perfection does not directly involve them. That doesn't mean it's right, it's just what seems to happen.

emily said...

all the above comments are great. like megan said, we tend to hold leaders up to higher expectations, but there is no reason for this. we are all human and we all have our agency - including our children. i think we need to remember that so as to not pass judgment.

i have known quite a few bishops who have had children "go astray." i thought nothing less of them.

i thought it odd that the pastor's wife and pastor only blamed themselves. weird.

erinmalia said...

i wonder how it would be different if we belonged to a church that paid their clergy? because in our religion our leaders are chosen from among us, not someone we bring from the outside. i just wonder if we would expect more from people we were "paying."

Amanda said...

I emailed privately on this because my response was so long-winded. However, I did mention that I joined the church 5 years ago and had grown up in the Baptist church. I saw a lot of people leave one church to find another when a pastor's teenage child ended up being pregnant and unwed.

The pastor and his family were highly judged for their every move and expected to set a standard for the congregation, but as Erin eluded to, there seems to be more pressure when they're paid clergy.

As an interesting side, the pastors I knew were not able to accomplish as much in their full-time positions of being clergy as our volunteer local leaders who have their own careers aside from the work they do for the church.

Niederfam said...

i think there is "something" to E's comment about PAID, for some reason that seems to change things a bit, bad or good, anyway, i think it's safe to say YES we make our own decisions as influenced by many people not just our parents!!!