by Kate Motaung
As a pastor's wife and a mother of three, I am even more conscious than the average church-goer about my children's behavior while we’re at church. As much as I adore our congregation, there remains the stereotypical notion that the pastor's kids (PKs) are eyed with a keener observation than others.
You can imagine my horror when I walked into the sanctuary one Sunday morning to find all three of my children leaping over the tops of the pews, rapidly (and noisily) jumping from one to the next, getting closer and closer to the front.
Being the refined, etiquette-conscious woman that I am, I started shouting from the back of the church, “Stop it! You can't do that! Get down from there!” But they were oblivious. Instead I was only piling on further embarrassment to my already-red cheeks.
I made a beeline for the front of the church, pointing and scolding each child as I passed them, finally stopping with my 4-year-old son, who had somehow surpassed his older sister and brother. I hissed a command for him to come here right away, and of course he just giggled. Truthfully, on most occasions at home, he is quite obedient, but clearly today was different. Today he was making a scene.
Eventually he woke up to the soberness in my tone and decided to stop. I put my arm around his shoulder, and I saw his bottom lip start to quiver – the first sign of repentance. I said to him calmly, but sternly, “Listen. You cannot do that. You are not allowed to jump over the pews.” He looked up at me with his puppy-dog eyes and nodded very intentionally. “OK, Mom,” he said, still nodding. “But what's a pew?”
Kate Motaung is a Michigan-born mother who has been living in Cape Town, South Africa, for the past nine years. She has three kids: a 9-year-old boy, a 6-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy.