I was born the son of a preacher man

Today is my birthday and forty-four years ago today, I was born. I was born the son of a preacher man. Two days before the celebration of the greatest birth day of all time. I think I was due to be born on January 21, 1968, but I had other plans, I wanted to be here for Christmas. My parents were in Canada visiting my mom’s family for a couple of weeks before I was born. The time came and dad took mom to Caribou, Maine and I was born on December 23rd, 1967. I have to say that it wasn’t always easy being the son of a preacher man, but for many years I didn’t know any better. Just like having a birthday at Christmas time, when it’s always that way then how would I know any different.

As I got older and learned more, mostly outside of what I was taught, I learned why it wasn’t easy being a preacher’s kid. I was the skinny, quiet, very shy, PK (preacher’s kid) to a lot of my peers in school and on teams that I played sports with and against. For the most part I was naive and just didn’t know any better. But I did know that the more I was called PK, the more I wanted to show that this PK could play. Primarily baseball and basketball. There were even a few times when this PK was playing backyard football and I let my athleticism, will, competitiveness, and aggressiveness do the talking for me when I didn’t have words to say. One day I was asked to leave the yard because I refused to let anyone tackle me.

I guess it wasn’t the fact that I was being called a preacher’s kid as much as it was that I knew my identity should be mine. I was a preacher’s kid, I still am. But I was also Steve, the shy, quiet, naive kid that was better at playing a sport than I was at speaking. My mind never stopped working, and if I didn’t have to speak, I didn’t. Many people now don’t believe me when I tell them that I rarely spoke to anyone at school until I was a senior. I had a couple of close friends that I would talk plenty to, but that was it. Even on teams I played on, I spoke very little. Now, people would probably rather I just stayed quiet.

As I slowly work on growing up, I am not sure I ever want to. I realize that like most kids who haven’t learned life’s lessons yet, that things weren’t as bad as I thought they were. Honestly, I am proud that I come from a line of preacher’s. My dad was a preacher. My uncle is still preaching. My dad’s dad was a preacher, his sermons were even carried on the radio. My aunts and uncles have been and still are missionaries, deacons, members of choirs, leaders in their churches, and so on. That was my upbringing, our culture, the only way I knew. Of course over time I learned of other ways kids were brought up, other family dynamics, other cultures, etc. I learned how to not like the way I was brought up, or at least question many aspects of my upbringing. Adulthood hit me with a glancing blow, but I wasn’t really done being a kid, and my sheltered world protected me, so I didn’t notice it much until later on. Later on, when I left my shelter completely and wandered somewhat aimlessly for a time. A time I think of daily. But that’s a story for another time.

Dad, I am glad you were able to preach. I don’t know that it was your dream, but you did it well, and it could have been your dream. Maybe someday we can talk about the pressures you felt to follow your dad to the pulpit, and preach. I honestly can’t remember if you and mom ever pressured or pushed me to be a preacher. I know I felt lots of pressure though; probably self-inflicted. I remember writing notes and maybe even a mock sermon or two when I was a kid. Mom, you were, and are a tremendous PW, just kidding, preacher’s wife.

I don’t know when I first heard the song, Son of a Preacher Man, but I know I liked it. So many versions of the old song, and I like most of them. If I could play guitar I would absolutely tear up the riffs of this song and play my own rendition. The song has something in common with all us PK’s right? I love the opening riffs … slow it down, stretch it out. Let every note be heard. Crisp, clean, but then, let it slide, ever so smoothly into the next note. Then there’s this version of Son of a Preacher Man with an edge. Anyways, I got off track a bit.

It’s 44 years later, and I am glad I was, and still am, the son of a preacher man. It’s just how it was supposed to be. No matter how much trouble I ever caused my parents, I hope they can be proud of this preacher’s kid. I had a great childhood. I was born into the Beal and Peterson families. Little did I know through much of my upbringing, but I have come to know now, that many of the greatest people I have ever met are in my family. In 44 years, I have learned a lot. I have been to a few places and seen a few things. I have met a lot of people and I’m afraid, too much I have forgotten. Over the next 44 years I plan to learn much more. I plan to visit many more places and see so much more. There are places I have been and people I have met that need to be revisited again and again. Learning from my past so that I don’t make the same mistakes in the future. I am fortunate man. I was a fortunate boy. I was a fortunate PK. I am thankful, I am blessed, to have been born the son of a preacher man. I have included the lyrics (with a tiny twist) to the song. Maybe someone else out there can relate as well. Thank you for spending a few minutes with me on 12/23, my birthday. Merry Christmas everyone.

Stevie-Wayne was a Preacher’s son,
And when his daddy would visit he’d come along,
When they gathered round and started talking,
That’s when Stevie would take me walking,
Through the back yard we’d go walking,
Then he’d look into my eyes,
Lord knows to my surprise:
The only one who could ever reach me,
Was the son of a preacher man,
The only boy who could ever teach me,
Was the son of a preacher man,
Yes he was, he was, oh yes he was.
Being good isn’t always easy,
No matter how hard I tried,
When he started sweet talking to me,
he’d come tell me everything is alright,
he’d kiss and tell me everything is alright,
Can I get away again tonight?.
The only one who could ever reach me,
Was the son of a preacher man,
The only boy who could ever teach me,
Was the son of a preacher man,
Yes he was, he was, oh yes he was.
How well I remember,
The look that was in his eyes,
Stealing kisses from me on the sly,
Taking time to make time,
Telling me that he’s all mine,
Learning from each others knowing,
Looking to see how much we’d grown.
The only one who could ever reach me,
Was the son of a preacher man,
The only boy who could ever teach me,
Was the son of a preacher man,
Yes he was, he was, oh yes he was.

3 responses to “I was born the son of a preacher man

  1. Kim Lennon-Freire

    Great blog Steve!

  2. Pingback: Preacher’s Kid (no preaching included!) « Infinite Sadness… or what?

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