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Article ID: 2670
Age Group: Adult
Posted: February 19th. 2000
Pagan Parenting by Christina
by Christina Aubin
Introduction: The Web
There are no set parenting plans for Pagans/Witch parents. Many other religions have dictates of how adherents should parent usually carved into stone. Witchcraft and Paganism does not require us to adhere to any generalized set of rules, personally or as parents. So what does being a great Pagan/Witch parent mean? Are adrift in the sea of parenting, alone floating aimlessly? Or do we have a course charted and have set sail with our young crew, only to find we have set sail with others? Together, do we share this wondrous ride in the unknown waters of parenthood, each sailing their own course but in accompaniment of others.
Parenting in of itself is a journey wrought with questions and insecurity, Pagan/Witch parenting even more so, as we do not have a Church on every corner, where we meet with others and take parenting courses. There can be a sense of isolation in Pagan/Witch parenting, even when we have the boon of having those we share magical lives with, needless to mention those who are solitary and in more isolated areas.
How do we raise these Magical gifts the Goddess has enriched our lives with? My husband and I were fortunate one Starwood to meet and become good friends with another couple, who in my opinion were superb parents. They offered wonderful insight into the role of parenting, we had deep philosophical discussion on the role of parenting in the Goddess traditions, and how to implement great parenting a la Pagan/Witch. These discussions and sharing assisted us in laying our foundation of Pagan parenting, something that is not a widely discussed topic in Pagan/Witch circles.
This is attempt to offer the Pagan/Witch parenting community and others who have children they love and want to instrumental in their nurturing, a set of ideas to ponder. As we all need to forge our own Paths in Life, parenting included, it can be helpful to reflect on what others say, and take what we can use and leave the rest behind. Perhaps we can open dialogue and begin to exchange ideas and find the strength and support we need, together.
As The Goddess and God set us forth on our own course to sail, we too, as adults that love children, prepare them to set forth as well. Assisting them in plotting their own course as we continue to plot and sail our own.
I offer this in honor of All The Magical Children, past, present and future. in them lies to potential of everything.
holism n. The theory that living matter or reality is made up of organic or unified wholes that are greater than the simple sum of their parts. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition Copyright © 1996, 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company
holistic adj. Of or relating to holism. Emphasizing the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts. Concerned with wholes rather than analysis or separation into parts: holistic medicine; holistic ecology.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition Copyright © 1996, 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company
As Pagan/Witch parents, holism, is one of the key lessons we pass on to our children, and this we do by living holistically. This approach to life permeates every aspect of our lives as both individuals and as parents, it is about living life with integrity and balance. Balance and integrity are not stagnant points we achieve, but rather a fluid effort that requires our constant diligence. It is a moment to moment and action to action equilibrium that is an effort to maintain, but an important part of the path to enlightenment we have all chosen to set upon. Its gifts are as wondrous as its labor extensive. This we do for our children and ourselves.
Parenting is one of the most frustrating and yet most rewarding experiences
I believe there is. It is, by lack of a better descriptive, a bittersweet journey - there is an intense profuseness in the frustration, fathomless love, inexplicable joy, and personal growth that I have yet to encounter through any other experience. My children have always been the mirrors by which I can truly see myself.
"Children are not things to be molded - but persons to be unfolded."
As I parent and work to unfold my cherished little gifts into the wondrous persons they are to be, I have come to realize in a very piercing way, That these little bundles of joy will continually push my very limits and force me to grow, yet again. This does not stop, we along with our children, are unfolding throughout this journey of parenting and being parented. It is a journey by which we will find our greatest challenges and our greatest gifts.
We find ourselves from the moment we conceive irrevocably changed, we can truly understand on a human level the intensity by which the Goddess and God must love each and every one of us. In this understanding we can find comfort in knowing that although we must experience our life and lessons therewithal, there is great compassion and love that surrounds us, and within this love there is the reason we live through life.
Children are a wondrous gift, brimming with promise, bounding with exuberance and endless love. Pagan/Witch parenting allows us to be aware and conscious parents, cognizant that our role is that of guide, nurturer and supporter of these magnificent little people. These children are not "ours" in the sense of ownership, as one would own their car, but rather they are ours to prepare for their journey into Becoming. They are rather their own and we have taken to task the ever important mission to prepare these extraordinary little folk for their life's journey.
No one can ever claim to have the answers, as no one knows all the questions. There can never be one correct parenting manner, life would never be so easy or boring. There is only the correct manner in which you are to parent given your particular circumstance and individual children. Each child will have a different set of needs that need to be addressed, no two are ever cut from the same bolt of cloth.
Much of this becomes an intuitive exercise based in clear and well-contemplated thought. Setting the stage on which the parenting act is to occur is crucial. As in Ritual, you lay The foundation upon which you build the parenting relationship. Having a foundational understanding allows us to have the personal resources necessary to parent well. Each foundation will, as all foundations do, differ - some radically and other subtly - but we can only pour the foundation that best suits us personally.
My View on Pagan/Witch Parenting: Perfect Parent/Perfect Child
Perfect and perfection are two of the most misused and misunderstood words,in the English language. It is essential to come to terms with our personal definition of perfect and perfection and our connection with those definitions, as it will influence greatly our perception and actions in very subtle but very real ways.
What is perfect? The definition of Perfect is "Lacking nothing essential to the whole; complete of its nature or kind." Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition Copyright © 1996. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. And from Webster's the definition is: Brought to consummation or completeness; completed.
What actually is perfection? Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary defines perfection as: "The quality or state of being perfect or complete, so that nothing requisite (required or necessary) is wanting; entire development; maturity."
The definitions would suggest that perfect is state in which we are born into, as we are born complete but also that perfect is not a stationary point, for the further definition requires maturity and a completion of development. Thus, perfection is not a closed point but rather an ever-unfolding process. We are forever in the process of being and becoming perfect, as we are not born lacking anything and thus already perfect and we are continually developing and maturing thus attaining perfection. Being and becoming are intertwined in the dance of perfection.
We, as beings, have innate drive for perfection it is the quest of one's Soul and the endeavor of one's Spirit, it is the Path of Enlightenment. Awareness that perfection is a state of being that is in constant motion, we can quest for perfection in its essence. It no longer an unobtainable goal, but rather a part of our current being and apart of our becoming. Understanding that we in an ever-evolving state of perfection allows the room necessary for our personal growth and thus continuing our quest. We can be compassionate with ourselves when we make errors and in that compassion allow for the latitude needed to right our wrongs. This compassion then grants us the ability to give latitude to others in learning their life lessons as well.
This is important to understand and know when becoming a parent, errors are inevitable along the way. Children do not come with instruction manuals, it is a wing and a prayer operation we undertake. We need to approach the task at hand from a point of honesty, consciousness, and desire to be the guardians we have chosen to be.
Thus we have the perfect-parent and perfect-child method of child nurturing. It is a holistic process by which, we are all ever in the process of perfection. We can only parent successfully from a point of knowing that we are "works in progress" as are our children, and we are as tied into this process as are the child(ren) we are awakening. As they learn and grow, so do we, and we are acting as the perfect-parent during each and every moment of this process and they the perfect-child. Together we will continue in this journey of ever unfolding perfection, which is the journey of life.
As time goes on and we learn as parents and as people, we become better selves and thus more knowledgeable, consequently better and better parents. If we do not approach the parenting role from this point of view we can get overwhelmed by the intensity and gravity of the whole process and become crushed in thoughts of guilt, "what ifs", "should I's" and other doubt generating thoughts.
We need to understand that the attributes we embody as individuals are the tools we need to be successful parents. The key is in conscious and contemplative action. Our children choose us as their parents for the lessons and guidance we are able to supply them, each parent is as different as each child, each with their own basket of traits and personality. Although we are chosen, it does not lesson our need to be cognizant as we parent. Our children love us for the potential we hold, as well as, who we are at this moment in time. We choose together, parent and child, to learn as a partners in Becoming, we can best serve our children by striving in our continual quest and understanding of perfection as an ever-evolving state.
Parenting is an elementary part of your child's development and it does have considerable impact on their lives as they impact your own. As all parents, we want our children to grow happy, healthy, and secure. We have to develop an understanding of the complexities of life and the subtle interweaving of all that creates life. We all are apart of that web and its weaving, our action and inaction do send reverberations through out the web. We can not allow this understanding to bring about fear and inability to act, but rather reaffirm the importance and responsibility of each individual, parent and non-parent in this Web of Life.
The Young Tots
Children have their own karma (life lessons). They born with their personal schooling plans. I refute the psychological theory that children are blank slates awaiting us to inscribe upon them. Ask any parent, children return to this world very much their own very small individual from the moment they return. I was amazed that there was such a distinct difference between my children from the moment my second child was born. Each beautiful in each their own very distinct way.
As our children grow and learn, you realize the one all-important truth, as complex as it is to be a good parent, it is harder still to be a child. Although children do not struggle for a living, pay their taxes, and worry about the political climate of the country, they have a harder road than we adults do. Children must struggle to find their way with no experience to base their actions and reactions on. Their level of control over circumstances and life's direction is barely minimal, yet we take for granted the level of control we have as adults, and can forget the agony and struggle it is to find our way into adulthood.
We owe our children the best possible parenting we can conceivably give and they deserve this much. We may not be able to prevent them from the pain of not being invited to a birthday party, but you can help them place it in perspective so that they are okay with it. We can also then further strengthen our position of inclusion rather than seclusion; we can use the experience to understand wrong intention and correct intention and the responsibility we have to act in a manner that is correct. And as sad as it may be, at sometime we all have to come to terms with the fact that some people are jerks, and some for no other reason than just to be. i always relate to my daughter that people (young and old) who are nasty for no real reason other than just to be that way must not feel very good about themselves. Happy people cannot be nasty as they are too busy being happy. Although empathy is an important lesson for children, so is feeling for someone but not taking their garbage, as no one should be a dumping ground for another.
Children's birthcharts are an essential tool in understanding their attributes, strengths and areas of further learning. Personal attributes, are in themselves a part of the tools we are born with, and as it is with every tool, it is the implementation of that tool that determines whether it is good fortune or ill. We are all two sided blades, and it is personal decision that determines how we use the blade, and this is the singularly most important lesson about self we can assist our little ones in learning. First honesty with ourselves, about ourselves and second the decision of proper action or inaction.
Another tool is communication, verbal and non-verbal. Through intuitive observation you will know when you child is carrying a load they do not know how to handle. This is true of a baby as well as a teen. As they are older a well-timed question brings the flood waters, allowing the pressure to stop building and an ability to assess the situation and choose a plan of attack. It is critical to begin communicating with your children from the beginning, it lays the foundation for the future. You cannot introduce the concept of communication and sharing when a child is 12 or 13, it needs to be a habit by then.
Another important resource for us, parents is to remember. Remembering our childhood with honesty and use this as a launching pad for our understanding and interaction with our children. Children have to have their experiences in order to build the resources they will use as adults to carve their own lives, but we as parent, can guide them to hopefully assimilate the lessons quickly while they are still small lessons.
Parent as Doctor
Children enter the classroom of life with lesson plan already in hand and we are the primary teachers. The Latin word for teacher is doctor and we as teachers to our children do doctor them. Doctors heal and to heal is to make hale, sound, or whole.
We guide our little ones in their process of remaining and restoring wholeness. As we grow, expand and as life gives us our knocks, our wholeness becomes distorted and deformed, we puncture some areas, some areas do not grow as the others do, and we find at varies points along the way we are in need of becoming whole (healing) once again. As parents, we assist our children in learning the skills they need to regain wholeness and rebalance, in order to continue the journey successfully. A key aspect of life's journey is learning to make oneself whole, as lessons, opportunities, falls and bruises occur, we do not maintain our wholeness, but rather we re-acquire it. This is a major component to life's lessons, it not the falling down but the getting up, incorporating and healing which gives us the lesson.
Teach derives from the root work deik: To show. Children learn primarily through observation and imitation not through lecture and reiteration. When faced with the question, "How do I teach this to my children?" it is better answered "How can I live this for my children?"
Thus we find that the children we have are in actuality large mirrors that reflect who we are, the values we hold and action we take. Children are critical in observation, there is nothing they do not see in our action and reaction, they mimic our dealings and us. So evaluation and re-evaluation of the integrity by which we live and act are necessary constantly along the way. Because regardless of what we say, it is what we do that will be passed along. Children learn trust and trustworthiness by our example, do we walk the walk and talk our talk? If not we are passing on lessons in disloyalty to them, the world and most importantly ourselves.
In this role we need to be compassionate with ourselves and our children, we will not always be stellar in our behavior and action, but we can admit we were incorrect, correct our mistakes, and attempt to work at the root of why. In this we are striving to walk a path of integrity and compassion, if we do not strive then we can not expect our children to do more.
Compassion of self is also an important action in one's life, we do not want our children wrestling with guilt and hatred of self for actions and inaction within their lives. As long as we truly strive we are living a life of integrity and balance and this is what we show our children.
The Reality of it all
Our children will fall down, hurt themselves, but the most important aspect of this is to teach and have them understand that everyone falls down, some have a bigger falls than others, but all need to get up and dust themselves off, it is how we learn. So your children will have their lessons, and they need to learn them, you can not for them, so live the skills they need to walk the journey of life. Something we as Witches/Pagans know full well in our personal lives. As hard as it can be, sometimes we need to let them run into the brick wall, so they can learn how not to later in life when the walls are larger and thicker.
Painting an accurate view of the world is fundamental to a child's healthy development. As much as we wish nothing more than sunshine and roses for our children, this is not the way of the mundane world. Even magical children need to function in a mundane world without blinders, perhaps tinted glasses but not blinders. They need to be able to see what is coming and be able to deal realistically with it. Escapism, although it seems blissful, is not a skill that promotes a life of integrity and indeed brings another bushel full of painful lessons.
In all honesty, some people are jerks, plain and simple. We need not do anything to bring about their ill behavior, and as we get older we learn to avoid such people, but children are not always afforded that luxury. "Someone always has to be the jerk, I guess this time its you" has become my daughter response to spiteful behavior. She understands that people who are jerks can not be happy people. If you are a happy person, then it would never dawn on you to be a jerk, however she further is grasping that this is not acceptable behavior and she does not have to put up with it.
Yes, morality, not typically a Pagan/Witch topic one typically thinks ten commandments, however it is an important Pagan issue. From Webster's dictionary we find morality is defined "The quality of an action which renders it good; the conformity of an act to the accepted standard of right." Aside from the dictates of public law, we as Witches and Pagans, tend to have only two "accepted standards of right". This first being the Rede and the second The Law of Return, even in this there are differences. Some hold the Rede as the "golden rule" and other's do not. Some believe the law of return is based upon the equal energy - the energy you put out returns on the same degree, and other hold the law of return is three-fold.
What this means that in the scheme of Pagan/Witch parenting is we each need to define and hold our own "standards of right." This is accomplished by taking our life's experience to this point in our lives and defining how we want to live and then in this understanding laying out the "laws" by which we personally live our lives. Our lives are successful only by the level of integrity we have within them, although the "standards of right" are personally defined they are no less important to live by than any other standard. In fact they are more important to live by, we are how we live our lives.
So define for yourself the type of person you strive to be, the type of foundation you wish to give your children to build themselves upon, and live it. As time progresses and our understandings evolve so does the manner in which we live. This teaches our children that life and the understanding of life unfolds as we unfold, and we incorporate what we learn as we go on in very real ways.
Children need an understanding of right and wrong or correct and incorrect action. That, when we live a life without integrity, respect and honor, we are not truly living in life as the Goddess hopes us to. When we strive, as it is never-ending, to live life with honor, respect and integrity the beauty of its magic is never ceasing.
Discipline - The Law of Return
Discipline can be difficult concept for us to become comfortable with, especially when we are used to operating within the bounds of "and harm ye none". So to understand discipline, its meaning and its function is imperative for us to implement it in a correct manner. The meaning of discipline is to educate; to develop by instruction and exercise; to train. It is a significant aspect of successful parenting. Children, by their nature, crave boundaries to operate within. The world is a very large place and children need to have boundaries placed around them as they grow, and as they grow so does the boundary. The boundaries we place for our children should be dependent upon their understanding and ability to utilize self-control.
Children have no understanding when they begin their journey of the law of return. Consequence is a universal constant. A consequence is something that logically or naturally follows from an action or condition, it in itself is neither good nor bad. Life like magic is full of consequences from our actions and in fact inaction, discipline is the manner in which we assist children in learning the law of consequence. If they do not realize that consequence is the direct reaction to their action or inaction, they will have to learn this lesson as they get older, and as they get older the lessons become more and more unkind.
How we discipline we requires introspection and reflection on our part as parents, as well as the make-up of the child. Each child is different, so are their needs. What they respond to also differs greatly. Discipline will evolve and change as we and our children do, it is important regardless of the manner we wish to implement that we do so with a sense of respect. As the Goddess disciplines us (and we all know She does), we too need to discipline our own children, it makes their path-working easier in the long run.
It is important as well to allow children to see through to the consequence. They can handle their consequences and emerge on the other side of it. If we allow them to find escape routes, they will learn this as a behavior and will always look for escape routes as opposed to walking the path they choose. All escape routes do is create harder and harder routes to the lessons. It is always better be look situations squarely on and walk on then to run and hide, for it will ruin life.
Let children problem solve. This is an important skill it allows them to develop the tools needed to solve larger and larger issues and problems. Many time walking them through verbally a situation, they can see the different variables and what the consequence of implementing each one.
It is important, I feel, to base our relationship with our children on respect. It is crucial for this respect to be mutual. We teach respect through respecting, true, however any parent of a teen or preteen will tell you this is not always clear. Respect is being regarded with honor, it does not mean we need to agree, like or even want to be around each other. It does means we honor that which we are, that we are becoming and where we have come from in ourselves and our children.
Tough times always present themselves, no one said parenting was a cakewalk, and if it were we would probably get bored. We need to be present in our children's lives from the beginning, they will know they are important by the time you spend and attention you give. In a world that can be as fast paced as our own, it is imperative to set aside some quiet time for each child. It is wonderful just to be able to "be" with your kids, not doing just being, this is when conversations happen and lines of communication are developed. In times to some this will be the lifeline that holds the relationship together as they grow.
The Magical Ride
The journey of parenthood and childhood is Magical, through the depths and heights we journey together. From infancy into childhood onto puberty and into adulthood, we watch these magical beings grow and transform. Ever amazing is the unfolding of a child, it is the very essence of life, it is the stuff dreams are make of. Enjoy your children, savor each stage, because they pass so quickly. They are astonishing creatures these children of ours.
May the Goddess Bless them all and May She offer the heart of guidance to those who nurture and love these babies.
February 28th. 2000
Stay tuned for Part II of this series and make sure you checkout
Christina's Powerful list of Parenting Links
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