How can you help family members of public figures like pastors, politicians, entertainers, and other community leaders? They live life in a shadow that they did not choose, usually. Among many things that help, remember this: they want you to know their names.
When dad is a pastor, for instance, children are often met by people who are satisfied to merely know “Oh, you’re So-and-So’s son.” They see that you really don’t care about them; you only care to categorize them in your mental box.
Thus, family members of public figures can feel a bit like one Jupiter’s sixty-seven moons. People know they exist. They have names, but few know them. People only remember Jupiter. By contrast, God knows each of the celestial bodies by name; Psalm 147:4 says “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.” If he knows inanimate heavenly bodies by name, we ought to be assured that he loves and cares for us that much more.
You can minister to family members of public figures by following God’s pattern: remember their names. Most are pretty happy to live in the orbit of their more luminous family member; but when you work to know a person’s name and use it, it brings them even greater joy because it shows that you care about them as an individual.
While we’re on the topic of names, here’s one more tip that I received from my grandfather who served in politics and government: Public figures want to remember your name; Christian leaders want to reflect the Lord in this way. But they are not God. To their shame, they will too-often forget your name because they deal with so many people. Unless they talk with you regularly, you know them far better than they know you.
So, help them by giving your name as you greet them, even if they probably should know it already. Grandpa taught me to extend my hand and say with a warm smile “Hi Steve, (I’m) James Faris…” If they already remembered your name, no harm is done. If they didn’t, you just saved them from unnecessary embarrassment. In short, you loved them in the way they needed to be loved. They will love you for it, and, chances are, they will remember you by name.