Raising Children of the Gods
Article ID: 14616
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,199
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Author: Jessica Marie Baumgartner [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: July 10th. 2011
Times Viewed: 3,839
This is the best time to be a Pagan. There are laws to protect freedom of religion and expression, and a lot of people are more open-minded than those of previous generations. But there is still some bias out there. And Pagan parents have a tough time trying to balance teaching their beliefs to their children and breaking misconceptions that other people may have.
As if parenting isnít hard enough!
Before my daughter was born, my husband and I were contemplating how we would teach our religion. Neither of us was born into Pagan families, so tradition is hard to find. Luckily, there is a world of information with the Internet, books, and other Pagans.
After much research, along with a bit of trial and error, I have found that there are five helpful steps to raising young Pagans. First and foremost know your faith, and then decide how you want to pass it on. Next be open and honest in your teaching, followed by praising our religious differences. Lastly it is very important to be active in your community. As a Wiccan mother, these practices have been very helpful for my family.
So letís dig a little deeper, you have to know what you believe before you can pass those teachings onto your children. When I found my path nearly ten years ago, I read as many books on Paganism that I could find. Nowadays there is a lot of information online, and the Pagan community has grown immensely.
There are so many different branches of Paganism that it is impertinent to know the differences. Children question everything and as a parent you canít have all the answers, but whether Shaman, Wiccan, Druid, or any of the hundreds of other Pagan faiths, knowing as much about your beliefs will be so helpful.
Whatever your path, how you teach those beliefs is also of great importance! Parents are their childrenís most important teachers. So itís good to have a rough idea of how you want your customs and practices conveyed to your children. Some Pagans want to keep their religion to themselves, whereas others like me enjoy expressing my beliefs to others who are interested.
Passing your beliefs onto your children is very uplifting. It is another way in which the bonds of the family are tied. My husband and I have included our daughter in our rituals since her birth. Some parents are reluctant to do so because of the negative misconceptions that many people still have against Pagans.
No matter the approach, having an open and honest relationship with your children will also give them a better understanding of their heritage. Encouraging your childís curiosity and helping to answer their questions will help them feel comfortable. I also recommend gaining some knowledge of other religions. This will allow your children to explore our differences and similarities with others.
It can be challenging at times, being that some religions preach that their belief system is the only truth. But there is a lesson in that as well. Teaching that everybody has their own path to walk will give your children the confidence and freedom to ask questions. And it will help you have a better relationship with your children if they find that their beliefs are not the same as your own.
Sometimes pointing out the mistakes that some other religions have made throughout history can be useful as well. But this must be done carefully by praising our differences while exploring the fact that people of all faiths make mistakes. These lessons will give your children a more positive outlook on religion in general.
My husband and I own books about many different religions so that we can educate our daughter to find her own path. In doing so we believe that Paganism will be more appealing to her if its teachings speak to them above all others. Of course itís only natural for a parent to want their children to share their beliefs. But we as parents must give our children the tools that they need to make their own decisions.
And lastly, the best way to raise a happy well-adjusted Pagan is to get out into your community to meet your neighbors. As people get to know you theyíll start to understand that Pagans arenít that different from everybody else. I proudly wear a pentacle necklace. And instead of being discriminated against all of the time, I have met some very accepting people as well as some other Pagans.
Mind you there are always those few bad apples that have to try and spoil the bunch. But it is how you handle the naysayers that also shape how society perceives the Pagan religions. Having the courage to correct anyone who has preconceived notions that Pagans are evil or harmful can lead to an unexpected friendship.
Luckily my experiences with people like that are few and far between. And Iím finding
The Pagan population is larger than we think. In my hometown of St. Louis Missouri we have an annual pagan picnic, a private school that has some pagan elements, and quite a few pagan friendly vendors at the Renaissance festival. These events would not be possible without the courage and care of other Pagans.
The days of having to hide who we are to protect ourselves are slowly falling behind us.
Change doesnít come easy, but how we raise our children affects the future of our belief system. And respecting other religions plays a big part in that as well. The golden rule still applies.
Common misconceptions can be changed, starting with how we raise our children and interact within our communities. But raising children of the gods is a true gift. Knowing your faith and how you want to teach it, being open and honest in your teachings, while praising our differences and getting involved in your community will help you and your family walk you path with ease.
Jessica Marie Baumgartner
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
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