Raising Children in More Than One Spiritual Tradition
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Article ID: 15109
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: June 24th. 2012
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Today, I went into the local metaphysical shop. The owner and I chatted while my daughter shopped for her birthday present. She has a thing for fairies and there are some great little fairy items in the store. I picked up a pottery mug for my male partner’s Father’s Day present—the great dragon print on the side practically roared out his name. I text my female partner and tell her, "I found it!" We've been looking for a dragon mug for some time.
There was a time when I wouldn’t have set foot in that establishment. I remember when she came to town. The pastors group in our area had a meeting to see if they could try and find a way to not allow her to set up shop. A church on every corner, each pounding out their version of absolute truth from the pulpit, but a cute little shop that sells things that are spiritual from a pagan perspective? Ack!
They couldn’t figure out a way to keep her out. I remember their disgust. I remember, even though I was thick in the camp at the time, wondering how they ever though they could. Freedom of speech means everyone is free to have his or her own opinion, right, without respect to religion? Didn’t they realize that if they could shut the metaphysical shop down, their favorite Christian bookstore wouldn’t be allowed either?
I pop in monthly and have made friends with the owner. She is an amazing woman and has often had what I once would have called, “words from God” for me. In touch with Spirit, very much so. She is one of the first people I came out to about my poly-fidelitous partnership. She was so accepting, so full of wisdom.
My son once, “I know that some people say she is bad and stuff, but she is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I don’t get why God wouldn’t like her. It doesn’t make sense.”
Yeah. Same here.
My son attends a fundamentalist church when he has his time with my ex, a theologically trained man who is still highly invested in the evangelical world. My kids say, “Dad won’t come in that store. He says it’s bad.” I answer, “Yep. Everyone has different opinions, don’t they?” Then we hop out of the car and go into the store, happily perusing the shop’s ample selection of small crystals and stones, holding them in our hands until we find the ones that tingle and burn and say they are ours.
“What does obsidian do again, Mom? Because that’s the one that is tickling me today. It’s snowflake obsidian. Will you look it up?” Out of every stone available, he has an ugly unpolished thing that he just can’t stop touching. I quietly note that it’s cheap. That’s always nice.
We open the books and read about obsidian. It’s happened too many times for me to be surprised anymore. Sure enough, snowflake obsidian fits this kid like a spidy-suit. I read, “Calms and soothes…helps you to recognize and release ‘wrong thinking’ and stressful mental patterns, promotes inner centering…” He has been having troubling dreams lately and is angry with his father’s past behavior. He smiles softly and holds his stone tight.
Figuring out how to invite my children to come along on my spiritual journey is tricky when they learn such mixed messages. At youth group they learn that only their dad’s church has the truth, that things outside of evangelicalism are dangerous, bad, evil, and will send you to Hell.
I try to pass on the idea that all beliefs can be respected, whether Christian, Buddhist, Wiccan, Hindu, Pagan, or otherwise. This can be hard, sometimes, when I have personal bones to pick with the evangelical camp’s set of beliefs, particularly the ones that I deem destructive, due to my own years spent in that world. I work hard to be respectful. After all, I began my mothering adventure by taking my children to church each and every Sunday! If it has been a journey for me, I need to have the grace to allow it to be a journey for them.
We talk about spiritual things as they come up. They are just kids, trying things on, figuring things out.
One day my daughter announces she wants to be an evangelical missionary. Not many days later, she announces that she doesn’t believe in Christianity. I never know what they will try on next. I try to respond peacefully and nonchalantly to all such announcements. Sometimes I fail, but I work hard at this. How can I talk about the importance of respecting all beliefs if I can’t respect their own? We want our home to be a safe place for spiritual exploration. The only way that can happen is if it is actually safe.
Today we leave with a fairy figurine and a set of fairy oracle cards. My daughter has been looking at the fairy figurine for some time now. We use a few different card sets sometimes at evening story time, each person picking a card for the next day and looking up the meaning in the books, and she loves that, so this will be her first very own personal set to enjoy.
When we get home, she hurries to show her siblings her cards, letting them each draw one and then fumbling through the little instruction book to read them their card meanings as they wait with eager eyes.
Tarot and oracle cards, like the metaphysical shop, are things I was trained to see as hideous evil. For thirty years, I believed that thoroughly. It is good to step outside of the little box. Big world out there.
“I don’t believe in God right now, Mom.’ My son speaks quietly as we walk into the house. I put my hand on his shoulder.
“That’s okay, baby. Some people do. Some people don’t. You’ll figure out for yourself what you feel is right.” I speak casually, peacefully.
“I might decide to believe in Him."
"Or Her. Or whatever it might be." I gently remind him.
"Yeah. Or Her. Or It. Whatever. Right now, it just doesn’t make sense. I need to see it to believe it.” He speaks firmly. I reach out and rub his hair. Then we put the groceries on the counter and start putting them away. He washes off the strawberries and looks for one without a bruise, eyes sparkling as he finds the one he was hoping for. I open my bags and smile as I look at the dragon mug. Treasures are everywhere.
Copyright: Copyright 2012
May repost on a small scale provided full author bio is included.
Location: Seattle, Washington
Onawa is a forty-something professional counselor, living in a poly-fidelitous triad with the two loves of her life and their wacky and hilarious tribe of ten children, along with a menagerie of beloved pets.
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