"Elder's Kids are the Worst?"

by Pathofthorns 13 Replies latest jw friends

  • Pathofthorns

    I'm not sure if its my limited perspective, but I have heard the saying "Elder's kids are the worst".

    From my perspective, the saying appears to have much merrit. If this is true, why would those who seemingly are raised in the "best possible environment" and who would in theory be raised in harmony with the Society's direction (good "spiritual routine" , meetings, service, family study etc) turn out the worst?

    Could it be that an elder's schedule is too busy for his family? Or perhaps its the "compressed spring" illustration, that children raised too strict go wild when they are exposed to the real world in their teens? Or perhaps such children are more likely to see what really goes on behind the scenes, and are less likely to believe the myth?

    This also could explain a declining interest in "reaching out" for such "priveleges" as the younger generation sees them as simply more work or thinking and caring ones realize that thinking and caring is not on the agenda. I believe this has left positions to less caring and ambitious ones, which could cause the flock to suffer.

    Is this something you may have noticed? Any thoughts as to why if you have?


  • Frenchy

    I served as an elder for many years. My children never gave me any real problems, they never got into serious trouble. I know other elders as well who had well-behaved children that grew up to be fine adults, loved and respected by everyone.
    I know some, however, who had very mis-behaved children that grew up to be even worse adults. In my life's experience I would have to say that the elders' children are no worse than anyone else's. I would also have to say that they are no better. I find that to be significant.
    The elders' children are often expected to behave better than 'the others' and perhaps that's because it's the elders that are are always telling everyone how to raise their children. I think that publishers are more critical of their children for that reason just like they are more critical of the elders' faults. I don't think there is a way around that.
    Elders do not necessarily have to neglect their family. I did not neglect mine. I did what I could and what I did not have time to get to, I just let it go. The C.O.'s were nice about it but I know it frustrated them that some of the 'routine' that a P.O. was supposed to take care of was often neglected. I simply told them that I didn't have the time to do it. They smiled and told me to get to it when I could. This was especially true with getting the congregation account audited!
    Elders are sometimes prone to use their position as an excuse for not spending time with their families just like some business men use their busy schedule for the same reason. Men are like that! They like to feel important. They want to be in the middle of what's happening and feel that they are in control and all the while they delude themselves into thinking it's for the benefit of their family. It's not, it's for their ego.
    Elders' children, like elders and M.S. are under the spotlight. They are expected to be exemplarary. This is a lot of pressure. They want to be part of 'the crowd'. They are already denied this at school and now they are being excluded in the congregation by the other youths who feel that they may squal to their father if they see something not quite 'kosher'! Sometimes that is a little too much.

  • Andyman

    Hi Pathofthorns;

    Like Frenchy I am not sure if they are really any worse, I think they just have morel problems when growing up than most other children.

    I do think that they see the hypocricy more than other JW children. I also think that their parents tend to not be there for them because they have to many "other" things that come first for them.

    The elders I know seem to not have time for their families. They are to busy with congregation things, and with making more money. I have noticed that since the change in the 1914 doctrine a lot of elders are taking on extra jobs to make money for the future. Some are really getting carried away with this, but that is another story.

    My brother-in-law is an elder and the P.O. He never has time for his kids. His son is depressed, and seems to be having problems at home. The teenage years probabaly make this worse, but children really need their parents to be there when problems come up.

    My brother-in-law has taken on extra work, which he really didn't need, which also cuts into his family time. His marraige isn't great, and I think he is avoiding facing the problems by working more and staying away from home. This doesn't help the children.

    Another elder I know lost his wife and two daughters because he wasn't understanding when it came to family problems that arose. He simply had to much work to do in the congregation, and his marriage suffered for it.

    I personnaly think the society demands to much from the elders, and they always seem to want MORE. The family suffers for this, and it isn't right. The elders need to be able to take care of their families first, the congregation second.

    One of the problems that I see is that the eldrs are not really qualified to be doing the counseling work the society demands of them. Spiritual guidance they should do, most of the rest of the problems, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, marriage counseling etc. should be done by those who have been trained in these fields, not by an elder with only a high school education. This would leave more time for their own families and to work with the problems they have.

    I also personally believe that they should only serve as an elder for a certain length of time instead of being put in for life so to speak.

    Children grow up to fast, and if you aren't there to help in this process, you can never get it back. A choice needs to be made and the family should be the winner.

    Take care.


  • Lark

    Hey Pathofthorns as an ex-elders son I resemble that remark.

  • RedhorseWoman

    Hmmmm.....interesting question.

    I've been thinking back on the elders' children with which I've been acquainted over the years, and I think that they cover the full spectrum of behavior from exemplary to horrendous.

    I do think that elders' children are scrutinized more carefully, and their foibles are more apt to be noticed.

    One daughter of an elder grew up to be an absolute snob due to her position in "the royal family".
    Another, however, from a different family, was an absolutely lovely young woman who was intelligent, sweet and kind.

    The family that strikes me most, however, belonged to an elder who was one of the really good ones. He was meek and kind and tried his best to help the members of the congregation.

    He probably didn't spend enough time with his family because he spread himself way too thin. He was constantly trying to help someone in the congregation, and I know that it caused problems in his own family.

    He had three children. His daughter always tended to have the "princess" syndrome. One of his sons DID go wild when he grew up. Thinking about his second son, however, still saddens me.

    This young man tried to be the perfect witness. He was smart and funny, a good friend, a caring, loving son. He pioneered and was always there to help someone in need.

    He had one problem, however, that he tried to hide, but which we always suspected....he was gay.
    After we all grew up and went our separate ways, I lost track of this young man. His family moved quite far away, and I hadn't seen him for years.

    I was recently trying to locate old friends through the internet, and I found one friend who had kept in touch with him. She told me that he died of AIDS five years ago.

    His father, the elder, never abandoned his gay son, even though he received a LOT of repercussions for doing so. I think that this man is what an elder should be.

  • Frenchy

    Red, I know of a similar situation where an elder's son is gay. I understand that this young man is HIV positive. He lives far away also.
    I once had a very firm position on homosexuality. Now, in view of its proliferation, I am not as certain. I certainly don't endorse it or condone it, I'm just not as sure anymore.

    -Say what you mean, mean what you say-

  • Maxee

    The peer pressure especially on teenagers could propably have a live long emotional effect.

    Frenchy Good food for thought

    This is a lot of pressure. They want to be part of 'the crowd'. They are already denied this at school and now they are being excluded in the congregation by the other youths who feel that they may squal to their father if they see something not quite 'kosher'! Sometimes that is a little too much

    Isn't it pretty usual that all the elders children are active and need to be good examples in the cong otherwise the elder has to step down.
    I have seen this happen to an Elder who had 7 daughters. Poor man

    On the other side of the coin I have seen a elder a target of gossip by members of the cong because he didn't have children plus a new wife who considerably younger than him.

    Edited by - Maxee on 18 June 2000 9:53:23

  • SolidSender

    It seemed to me that anyone who deviated in any way, shape or form from organisational law immediatley became prime subject/suspect for a witch hunt, scapegoating or both. Thankfully Jehovan & Jesus judge us all with compassion and as equals - SolidSender

  • RedhorseWoman


    I recently found out that my nephew is gay. He used to be a JW (as well as many other religions), but he is no longer. Fortunately (I know this sounds strange, but this is the way I feel), he was never baptised.

    We had always had suspicions about my nephew, but we just pushed them to the back of our minds. When he told me, I was not surprised.

    The thing I find hard to deal with is why Jehovah would create some of his children as homosexuals, and then condemn them for it. After knowing my nephew's situation, I have no doubt in my mind that his homosexuality is genetic....he did NOT choose to be gay....he just IS.

    I sometimes wonder if the scriptures supposedly condemning homosexuality are being misinterpreted. This other brother I spoke of in the previous post was also similar to my nephew. He tried to be a real "ladies' man" as a teenager, but we all somehow knew that he was gay. Finding it out later was not a surprise.

    Having this issue in my own family has caused much confusion and heartache. How can I urge my nephew to either live a lie by marrying....and quite likely ruining the poor woman's life, or urge him to remain alone...with no companionship...to placate a creator who made him the way he is?

    It doesn't make sense to me, and I have great difficulty coming to grips with this issue.

  • waiting

    Dear Frenchy & Red Horse,

    Being of a strange family, I can speak of experience with gays. Professionals and people in general, and, probably, gays are confused by the issue. There have been extremely long threads on H20 about this matter. I don't post in them.

    According to one of my physchiatrists, my father's basic personality was a homosexual (hard to call him gay). He just had many vicious deviancies tossed upon his basic personality. I can attest to several different men I "saw" him with, literally. No religion, no upbuilding character. He was raised by an alchohalic and a Nazarene mother in the country - cruel childhood.

    On my mother's side, my favorite aunt, real woman's libber, is also very gay - and a very gifted professor and lecturer. Strong, opinionated "radiating" feminism - a lot of people didn't like her. Catholic, in old age, afraid of Hellfire.

    My son, raised a witness - stumbles back and forth. As a preteen & teenager, the young ones in the KH recognized his sexual awkwardness and fed upon it. Several were just openly cruel to him on a continuing basis, particularily at school. Then when he left the truth, they had the audacity to say "we don't consider him one of us anymore." Not surprisingly, worldly kids never bothered him, they just let him grow up.

    My first husband's mother was a true bull dyke, sock in pants, crewcut and all. She was also a gifted artist and mental. She did a real "mental job" raising my husband. My jerk had a major anger problem with women. Go figure.

    All and all, my family history does not reek of mental and pyschological stability, does it? As with alchohalics and abused wives, we tend to marry, or go with, what we know. I know socially unacceptable people.

    However, on the point of homosexuals, there doesn't seem to be conclusive evidence that it is an inherited gene disorder (perhaps) or society conditioning or both. I doubt if it can be proven medically.

    If it's in your family, however, it's crushing - especially being a JW. There is no peace when dealing with a loved one who is gay, in my opinion.

    Edited by - waiting on 18 June 2000 23:40:44

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