After the heated discussion that cropped up in Gustav A. Haussler IV's post about forming a Wiccan private school, I wanted to create a dialogue on the argument that overtook the post, an argument about whether or not to raise children in the Wiccan (or any) faith.
I would first like to say that this post is made by someone who does not have children, though I planning on starting a family some time in the future. I hope that makes me a relatively neutral moderator of this discussion. I believe that no one has the right to tell a parent how to raise their child (short of preventing harm or neglect) least of all someone who does not have children herself.
Second, I want there to be no judgements in this discussion about how others have chosen to raise or plan to raise their families. People can share their own experiences growing up, or stories about their own families. But there will be no insults, no vilification, and if you please, no use of the words "shove" and "throat" in the same sentence.
I'd also like to pose a few questions.
Do you believe that you can foster spiritual growth?
Which holidays do you chose to celebrate with your family and why?
How do you create a dialogue about faith in your family?
How do you create a dialogue about
How does one support one's child when he or she shows an interest in another religion?
Would you like there to be more books, games and products geared towards the Pagan family? What would you like to see?
I have not read the previous article, however after answering your question's I will attempt to find it.
As a little background information, I have no children, and no plans to have any in the near future. I am in a serious relationship with someone who is Agnostic and does not practice any religion. We were both raised Christian.
My answer as a perent would begin with my partner. My boyfriend has expressed interest in the Pagan Faith, the Sabbat's are something he'd like to Celebrate but he has never directly expressed to me that he would like to begin practicing. I do not feel it is my position to question him about weather or not he wants to believe. Sometimes he will come into my dorm room and I'll have had some Pagan books out, he'll pick them up and flip through them, ask the ocasional question and return it. Although I can see his interest developing it's not my position or right to pressure him, I too started out with a genral interest in Wicca primarily after a friend introduced me to the subject. Over the years this interest grew, perhaps Charlie will go the same way, perhaps not.
My belief is the same for Children. When I lived at my mothers house I lived with my younger sister, who is fifteen years younger than me. She would come into my room and start poking around with my crystals, wanting to investigate the jars of herbs collecting on my side. I would take her out for nature walks and get her to observe what was going on around her, I'd take her out with me for "World Cleaning" when we'd pick up local rubbish and deposit it in the public bins. I never told her I practiced Magick, or that I was a Witch. She'd think I was hopping on the Hogwarts Express! What I hoped I was teaching her was respect for the earth, when she asked questions, I answered them. I'll never forget the day she was baffled because Bacon came from Pigs!
Every Autumn I would take her out and she'd ask questions about the tree's. Why are the leaves falling off the tree's? Will they grow again? What happens when the leaves die? Will there be more plants in the summer?
I'd try my best to explain in a way her three, four, five-year old mind could understand. She would collect pine cones, come home and place them on my alter (which I refered to as my place full of special things). She used to tell me which tree's were her favrioute and she'd hug them, dance around them and talk to them without any prompting on my behalf. Sometimes she didnt want to come up the fields with me, sometimes she did, that was her choice.
Had she of been my child, and having my childs father agree, I would potentially persued talking to her about religion, about God/dess.
I was raised Christian, I went to Church (including Christmas morning!), I prayed at dinner time and I lived the life of a Christian Child. I think if it's okay for Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindun etc perants to raise their children in faith then why wouldnt it be okay for Pagan Parents to? If my Children expressed no interest I wouldn't be hurt, but at the same time if they did, I'd allow them to explore that.
Greetings. I didn't read the last discussion, but I think these are some good questions. I have a have a five year old son and I am raising him as pagan. I've also chosen to go to a Unitarian Universalist church so that he has a spiritual & religious community to grow up with. The UU church also exposes him to other religious views along with pagan views. I've fostered spiritual growth by sharing with Alex the beauty of nature and a respect for the earth. We recycle and we clean up garbage that we find. We spend time outside through out the year experiencing the seasons. Last year he helped me water my garden and this year he's going to have plants that are his to take care of. Another part of his spiritual growth is fostering a sense of community within family, church, school & even karate class. They are all very different but they all share the need to learn to respect one another.
We celebrate the major christian holidays of Christmas and and Easter with our families. As part of the UU congregation we also celebrate Jewish holidays and sometimes Muslim and pagan holidays. Within our home we celebrate the wheel of the year and the full moon. This year I began to allow Alex to join me in my full moon ritual. I think going up to my Craft room is becoming a special Mommy & Alex thing.
I don't find creating a dialogue with my family difficult. With Alex, it usually begins with explaining what day is coming up and telling him what activities we are going to do. My husband is more gnostic and doesn't take part much. Extended family is more difficult to talk to. My parents know I'm pagan and they are supportive of me. My mother in law still asks me if I'm going to get Alex baptised (which isn't happening).
If Alex shows interest in another religion I hope that I will be able to be supportive enough to allow him to explore that religion. Growing up in the UU church, he'll be exposed to different religions. It's either middle school or high school that religious education includes learning about other religions and visiting other religous places of worship. My only rule will be to respect other's beliefs no matter his choice in religion.
I'm always looking for something new as far as materials that I can use for spiritual and religious growth. There is a lot of material out there, but I enjoy finding fresh ideas and perspectives.
Your son has been given a wonderful childhood. I am sure he will grow up well balanced & tolerant of others. You could teach many parents how to approach raising children with a spiritual outlook on life. x