No. 184



"Hello, Little P.K. You got born today, and you look awful little and squirmy. You look awful skinny and kind of red and wrinkled too. Since you are little and your daddy is a preacher, I think you are going to have a hard time getting along. So I'm going to start right now to write down some things to help you since I'm about a teenager and you are my little brother. You have three sisters older than you. They are kind of different. They pick at their food, comb their hair, wash a lot and don't want to wait till I'm through with the funny papers before they read it. When they do read the paper they cut out people for paper dolls and then nobody can read it. When Dad has to go someplace Sunday afternoon, they cut up the paper before he reads it and then there is real trouble. I knew you were coming because Mama had been getting fatter. Somebody told me you could tell before babies were born cause their mother got fat. I've checked this out a few times and it's true. You watch and see for yourself when you get a little bigger."

And so begins a wonderful and hilarious little book titled, "Remember The Good Times." A few weeks ago I received a personally signed copy of this book from the author David H. Smith. He said it was only fair, if he was going to read my column that I should read some of his work. I'm so glad he sent it to me because I've never laughed so hard in my life while at the same time receiving some real insights into the lives of preacher's kids, who are also known as P.K.s.

David Smith is the son of a Baptist preacher who served as the Clear Creek Association's Missionary and held pastorates in small towns in Southern Illinois. Many of my readers in this part of the country will recognize names like Cobden, Vienna, Tamms and Anna. While most pastors today earn a good salary, back in the days when David Smith was growing up, times were really lean, especially for those who served very small churches. In most cases they only received what was put in the collection plate each week and many a time David's father would be told, "I'm sorry Brother Smith, there isn't anything in the treasury this week."

That's the economic side of the story, but this family, like most Midwestern families in those days, had real love for each other and they made do. When I was growing up we were not destitute, but reading David's book gave me some real insights into what you can do to get by if you have to. In case you don't know, preacher's kids are held to a higher standard than other kids in the community. Because their father is a preacher, they are expected to be "little saints" which is far from reality and the truth.

While the church's influence helps most of them turn out to be productive citizens, they are no different than other kids when it comes to being mischievous and in need of discipline and guidance. Unfortunately many preachers are so busy taking care of others they neglect their own children and they become rebellious. But as the Bible says, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it." The rough years are the in between years.

Believe me, David Smith, who did not turn out to be a preacher, was all boy. Reading his story kinda reminded me of Opie Taylor on the Andy Griffith Show. Some of the titles of the chapters in the book will give you some insights...Pigeon-toed Thief...Dad Got Arrested...We Moved Again...It Takes Two To Fight...The Catholic Social and The Broken-plate Sermon. Hopefully these comments have brought back some memories for you. Just remember, P.K.s are no different. They don't need to be judged, but they do need love, guidance and discipline just like the rest of us. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)