6th December 2019

Blog: If you were a banker …

Providing wellbeing care and support to clergy and their families is central to St Luke’s work. Psychotherapist Nicola Canham’s thought-provoking blog brings into focus issues that clergy children can face.

Dear Dad/Mum

If you were a banker and not a vicar, you might work long hours and I might never see you.

But

If you were a banker, maybe no-one would expect me to like maths, like going to your bank or want to become a banker too.

If you were a banker, then maybe you wouldn’t keep coming into my school to take assemblies to tell everybody how wonderful life as a banker is and how it could be for them too and maybe I wouldn’t get teased or bullied afterwards.

If you were a banker, then maybe we wouldn’t live right next door to the bank in a home that isn’t really ours. Maybe other people wouldn’t keep coming to our house for meetings or turn up unexpectedly out of work hours and your company secretary wouldn’t have an office in my front room.

If you were a banker, then maybe other people wouldn’t think they have the right to comment on and correct my financial behaviour or expect me to be committed to saving my pocket money every week or managing my bank balance perfectly, as if these things are in some way a reflection on how good a banker you are.

If you were a banker, then maybe if someone is being horrid or bullying you at work and you were talking about it around the dinner table, then maybe I wouldn’t have to see that person every week or overhear them gossiping about you, which makes me feel powerless and sad and angry inside.

If you were a banker, then maybe my friends might not stop telling a dirty joke when I walk in the room or apologise when they swear and I wouldn’t feel different and an outsider because of your job.

If you were a banker, then I may not feel like I am on the lowest rung on the ladder of your priorities because so many other people make demands on you and I may not find myself trying to gain your attention by being naughty or ill or idle.

If you were a banker, then maybe we wouldn’t have to move around so many times and I wouldn’t have to keep saying goodbye. I might be able to make good friends so that I can learn how to trust others, manage conflict, envy and competition and express my myriad emotions without fear of rejection.

If you were a banker, then maybe you wouldn’t view your own inability to cope or failing mental health as a failure to believe and trust in the premises of banking and go and get some help. Maybe that would help me cope too.

But …

You are a vicar.

I love you and you love me.

Help me to thrive not just survive.

  • Nicola Canham is Head of Wellbeing for Clergy and Families, Diocese of Chichester. Chichester recognises the pressures on clergy and their families and is actively seeking to raise awareness of the issues. The Diocese provides valuable therapeutic support to those in need and offers reflective practice groups to clergy, based on the St Luke’s model.
  • Would you like to know more about how St Luke’s can help clergy and their families who are facing emotional or mental health challenges? Please visit our website stlukesforclergy.org.uk or call us, in strict confidence, on 020 7898 1700
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