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Posted: Nov. 17, 2002
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Question of the Week: 31 - 3/5/2001
Whassa Matter With Kids Today?
Maybe nothing, but you couldn't tell that from the main media news stories or from the often disparaging remarks overheard (overread?) about today's youth in the Pagan newsgroups, message boards and chat rooms. Are the Pagan youth of today nothing but shallow thrill seekers intent on finding some easy spoon-fed answers? Do they come off as spell hungry monsters looking for a quick fix? Are they really unable to delve into the deeper mysteries simply because they are young? "Why can't they be like we were, perfect in every way?" Pagan Adults: What trends and tendencies do you see manifesting in the Pagan youth of today? What would you LIKE to see? Pagan Youth: What about the treatment often received by young seekers bugs you the most? Is it justified? Do you feel 'stereotyped' as a young person? Adults AND Youth: What are the benefits and drawbacks of inter-generation communication?
| Reponses: There are 71 responses posted to this question.
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| I Am Not Sure That There Is Anything Wrong With The Pagan... ||Mar 5th. at 12:17:46 pm EST|
|Aedh Rua (Prophetstown, Illinois US) ||Age: 35 - Email |
I am not sure that there is anything wrong with the Pagan youth of today which has not been "wrong" with the young from the beginning of time. OF COURSE many young Pagans, or Christians, or whatever, are thrill seekers. OF COURSE many young people lack perspective. This is part of being young. I was something of a shallow thrill seeker myself when I was 18. If anything, the young Pagans I meet are more serious and less neurotic than the Pagans I knew years ago.
Unless my memories are playing me tricks, the Pagans of 15 to 20 years ago were a pretty wild lot. I seem to recall rituals followed by sitting around passing an ever-full pipe of weed and bottle after bottle of apalling Romanian retsina or burgundy for hours at a time. I seem to recall attending at least a couple of orgies at early PSGs, and lots of fairly wild "lingeree tea dances". Then there were the damiana wine, Jaegermeister, Goldwasser, and other beverages which used to flow like water at almost every festival. I am almost sure I remember attending Pagan parties with a pirate copy of Rocky Horror (which had years to go before it was legally out on video) playing in the living room, while people got high in the "Zen Room", or had sex upstairs.
These must all have been dreams, for we old-time Pagans were such serious, spiritual people in our youth. Of course, youth is a relative term. Most of the attendees at these affairs were my age, now. I was the "baby" among this crew of people-my-mother-warned-me-about, which does not mean I was not an eager participant.
I really can't imagine most of the young Pagans I know partying like that, and I know quite a few young Pagans. They seem almost puritanical by comparison with our carrying on in the old days. They are often a bit doctrinaire, perhaps the result of Silver RavenWolf's influence, but I am not sure that is entirely a bad thing; it does help us keep up our morale in Fundie America.
They also strike me as much more sincere than we ever were. Sure, there are a few Goths in search of magic powers among them, but I remember one guy in 1984, supposedly an "experienced ceremonial magician", tell a group of us newbies how he invoked Cthulhu in the steam tunnels under the University of Minnesota, and "got something". (OOOHHH!!!) Certainly, there seem to be fewer bright young things in search of getting laid these days, which cannot help but be an improvement, however much fun we had.
It must all have been my imagination.......
| We Are Not Like Are Parents Because We Grow. Each Step Of... ||Mar 5th. at 9:38:03 am EST|
|Ceo Moontear aka Mikey (Owosso, Michigan US) ||Age: 18 - Email |
We are not like are parents because we grow. Each step of the way in the lives that have existed up to ours have all been a learning process. There isn't a "how-to" manual that comes with life. I am 18, and I know I'm really different from alot of my elders, but there's a spot they don't seem to see. They lived the same road I am living now. They have made their mistakes, and probably will keep making them (None of us are perfect ya know), and with those mistakes, they live on, teaching what they can to us younger generations. But can you seriously expect us to be exactly like our parents? That's not really fair. The times are changing, with the new year, the movement of Mother Gaia, the ecosystem, the energies that are currently at work right now. This is all a sign of change. For your answer, I'll say this. Would you like to be exactly like your parents? And them like theirs? And so on and so on. Why? We are all seperate creations that the Lady and Lord put here for a reason. And that reason is to bring about change. We all change. And we are all our own persons. Thank the Light for this because if we didn't have this, we'd still be in the neolithic stages. And who wants to be smelly? Hehe.
| I Belive That Teens Are Intelligiant To Make There Own Descions And... ||Mar 5th. at 8:04:46 am EST|
|Selkie Moonchilde (covington, Kentucky US) ||Age: 17 |
I belive that teens are intelligiant to make there own descions and most Craft
based teens are gentle, caring, individuals uncapable of mass murder.
| Much Of The Pagan Community, And Much Of The Wider Community Has... ||Mar 5th. at 5:08:39 am EST|
|Sah'aquiel Ka'asha (Sydney, New South Wales AU) ||Age: 16 - Email |
Much of the pagan community, and much of the wider community has a particular view of pagan youth, or 'teen witches' as they are usually called. It seems that to some extent the phenomenon of the Goth has taken the place of the skinhead or whatever method kids used to use to set themselves apart from the majority of society. This stereotype of the rebellious youth has taken pagan youth as collateral damage. While I confess there are many out there who take a minority religion simply to be different, there are still many of us out there who believe what we believe because we choose to believe it - not because the majority of society chooses not to. For every teen witch who's seen 'The Craft' and likes to cast an odd curse on teachers there's one young pagan who follows the craft like elder respectable pagans do.
Stereotypes are almost always justified, as usually a large sample of the stereotyped population fits. However stereotypes are almost never fair, as a large sample of the stereotyped population won't fit - while the misconception of pagan youth is based in part on truth, it is still far from true.
| Nothing Is The Matter With Kids Today. I Am More Enthusiastic About... ||Mar 5th. at 1:56:48 am EST|
|the ShadowDancer (Tucson, Arizona US) ||Age: 47 - Email |
Nothing is the matter with kids today. I am more enthusiastic about kids (5-17)than I have ever been, my own generation included. I am very pleased with the well thought out responses of teens in these OPINIONS. I am finding that many teens today are learning hard life lessons decades earlier than their predecessors.
I am not sure if it is the "hundredth monkey effect", the fact that we really are passing the cusp into Aquarius (finally), or something else. I only know that I have noticed a quality in young people that I have not seen before.
Of course, there are still lots of problems (drugs, inability to delay gratification, entitlement issues, blatant materialism, etc.) but certainly less than gen-Xers, who are now in their 30's. And, my generation of "baby-boomers" seems to be barely figuring things out now. My parent's generation generally will go to their graves less aware than they were at birth, it is scary.
No, all in all, I am pleased with todays crop of young ones.
| Many People In The Pagan Community Complain That Young Seekers Are Fickle... ||Mar 5th. at 1:34:19 am EST|
|Ian Magee (Sydney, New South Wales AU) ||Age: 32 - Email |
Many people in the Pagan community complain that young seekers are fickle, leaping from one fad to the next. Without a doubt, there is a certain amount of truth to this perception. But it is not the whole story by any means.
I suspect that many young people are attracted to eclectic forms of Wicca because they have reached a stage in their spiritual development where they are experimenting with different religious viewpoints. This is not necessarily a bad thing. As a community, we should go out of our way to encourage this kind of curiosity -- and guide it towards something deeper.
I believe that it is important for young people to develop spiritual perspectives that speak to their own concerns and life experiences. These concerns will often seem shallow or trivial to older(and more experienced) members of the Pagan community. But this difference in concerns is a reflection of the age differences between different members of our community.
The superficiality of many of the "Wicca for Teenagers" books on the market is not so much a indictment of modern youth as an indictment of our community. We are unable to nurture the casual interest of young people so that it grows into something more meaningful. And then we complain when these young people flit off to the next fad....
| One Thing That All Ages Should Understand Is That No Matter How... ||Mar 5th. at 1:05:30 am EST|
|ChronoXII (Omaha, Nebraska US) ||Age: 17 - Email |
One thing that all ages should understand is that no matter how you look at it, it usually boils down to the fact that adults and youth are capable of the same levels of thought and depth. I fail to believe that I will one day be able to wake up and understand the world 100% just because I've broken the age of thirty. I have met some intelligent and stupid adults and youth alike. Agism (if such a word exists) is another form of judgement, and one should not be quick to stereotype teens (or adults) just because of an unwise few. Remember, age is not a defining median by which one can measure wisdom. Indeed, all paths progress over time; only some are more rapid, obsticle laiden, rewarding, or just plain shorter. Whomever the traveller, all are vagabonds, young or old.
| I'm A Teenager And I'm A Witch. Saddly Enough, People Dont Judge... ||Mar 5th. at 12:57:13 am EST|
|Firelight (Keaau, Hawaii US) ||Age: 16 - Email |
I'm a teenager and I'm a witch. Saddly enough, people dont judge me by how i act or what i believe, but on how old I am. The craft I love and follow every day of my life and the beautiful and realistic (in my mind) beliefs I cherish isnt what defines me, but how many years I have lived. I love my faith and those that share it with me, but I mostly find myself ignored by those who could help me grow the most, adults! I am not without wiccan fellowship because luckilly for me I know quite a few wiccan teens, I even just started "The Moonlit Coven" with two of my closest friends after much thought and discussion. I'll say that hollywood hasnt helped teenagers much. "The Craft" seekers are an annoyance to me as much as they are to adult pagans. But not all things such as those are bad. My friend who first started me thinking about witchcraft had no idea what she was talking about and couldnt wait to hex people, as she no doubt has done to me since our parting of ways. But from that rotten apple I met the truth. I met another friend not long after and she didnt tell me anything about wicca, just that she was a witch (and she has her heart in the right place)and that got me thinking about witchcraft again. Then I met myself in the form of wicca. I continue to grow and love this path more and more. I just have on hope to all adults out there, set the record straight for the misguided ones and you will weed out the bad ones. Dont let wicca become stagnant. Blessed be and merry part.
| I Have 3 Children, 18, 16 And 13. My 2 Sons (the... ||Mar 4th. at 11:56:41 pm EST|
|Kina (Boston, Massachusetts US) ||Age: 32 |
I have 3 children, 18, 16 and 13. My 2 sons (the older children) are both Pagan, with no particular tradition. My daughter is a Jehovah's Witness. Despite our differences, my children are wonderful. I don't have major problems with them. They are very good teens, all work hard at school. I think the biggest trouble that we have had as a family is combining our differences and celebrating them. My daughter (the JW) is actually the only one who has difficulty with this, as she wants us to be like her, as her religion teaches that we all MUST follow the same path. THis has led to some serious friction, but we work on it constantly. I think that that's the most important thing. THat as families we work on resolving our differences in ways that allow us to continue to grow AND to continue to be together in respect, love and trust. On the whole, I don't think that kids are any worse than they were, but that parents are looking more for quick fixes, without the time and effort that is involved in creating a family environment that allows each of us to be united, yet continue to have our own distinct beliefs and realitites. I would like ot see my children continue to develop their spiritual growth.
| It Bothers Me A Great Deal When I See Pagan Youth Disparaged... ||Mar 4th. at 11:13:19 pm EST|
|Mnemosyne (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario CA) ||Age: 24 - Email |
It bothers me a great deal when I see Pagan youth disparaged, largely because of my own experience. I embraced Paganism, Eclectic Wicca in particular, when I was about 15, but had little luck finding any information beyond beginners' books until I was an adult. In the circle I've cofounded since, it was because of our experiences that we made the decision to be open to minors, provided they had parental consent. While a few of the young people we've encountered in the past few years have been thrill-seekers and spellmongers, the majority of the seekers, and all those who stay involved beyond a few weeks, are as dedicated and insightful as the adults. Young Pagans on messageboards and such are similar, though I've met a greater proportion of cyber-pagan youth (as compared to those who come to us in person) who were in need of a reality check. Once the facts are delivered (no, you can't fly, no matter what kind of broom you use!), those who aren't bored ask some of the most penetrating, thought-provoking questions. When I think of today's young Pagans, and compare them to the very few other Pagans I encountered in my high-school days, I'm amazed at the depth of understanding they possess. Perhaps it's the internet and its readily available information on anything imaginable, perhaps it's the filtering process that's already occurred before a young person decides to search for a circle, but regardless of the explanation, kids seem to be more serious about, and more willing to take responsibility for their spiritual growth. That spiritual growth reflects on all of us. What's the matter with kids today? Absolutely nothing.
| Mm! What's Wrong With "kiddies" Today. Hmm. Many Young 'uns Do Have... ||Mar 4th. at 10:11:44 pm EST|
|9;2;2 (Derby, Kansas US) ||Age: 16 - Email |
What's wrong with "kiddies" today. Hmm. Many young 'uns do have tendencies of thrill-seeking in what they often perceive as the "D&D" type magick of instant-power, knock-over-the-aholes-at-school type magick. Then again, there are adults like that. And they're not 1% of the group, either. So, technically, there's nothing wrong with us. There are "weeds" in every garden. So, before anyone gripes about weeds in someone else's garden, start sweating over your own. I'm speaking symbolically here, and not literally.
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