Raising Pagan Children

Discussion of raising your family in the pagan tradition.
Stephanie Mae
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Post by Stephanie Mae »

JBRaven wrote:I guess it is the way I was brought up. My mother had a vision from god that her children should grow up Catholic while she was an armchair Baptist. She forced my brother to be baptized and when she was gonna force me my brother and I ran away. We were gone for 6 months and I was never baptized. I just fear that I will guide my child to do something that she willl regrett later like my brother and the baptisim. but regardless, These are choice that you, your spouse and the child have to make.
I agree that it is the individual choice of the parents. A parent needs to feel comfortable with guidelines set for their children, if not the child could pick up on that unease and become conflicted internally.

One of my great aunts is an absolute Catholic, and she is known to become nasty at times with us "bad eggs".

missgems82

Post by missgems82 »

I'm 27 years old and not actually a parent so this opinion is based mostly on my own childhood experiences and the effects each one of them had on me. Both my parents don't actively practice any form of Religion so no rituals, they don't attend a church or any kind of gathering where Spiritual matters are discussed etc. However, they are good people and have always been there for me, leading by example and overall, they were great parents to me and my twin sister.
They decided to send us to a Catholic School which accepted pupils from non Catholic backgrounds purely because of the excellent educational standard throughout both the Junior section and Senior section. They believed it would be the best possible start for us and they were right, it was. We achieved great results and got into great colleges and made some life long friendships which to this day, are just as strong and supportive as they were the day we made them.
But from our very first day to the day we left, the School's religious ethos was very clear and very rigid - "Jesus Christ is the one true path and you will all walk with him to the Kingdom of Heaven". Anyone who questioned this was openly mocked in front of their classmates by the teacher and sent to the Chapel during any remaining break times and made to pray for forgiveness. Mass was compulsory at the start and end of every term and our Religious Education lessons were heavily biased so we were not really given a chance to learn about the other 5 major Religions practised across this World and Paganism was completely ignored even though many Christian Holidays come from the Pagan Celebrations practised before the Church came into power.
This actually made me resent the Faith I felt had been forced upon me and left me feeling very lost within myself. As soon as I left the School, I began to fill in all the gaps the nuns had left me with and soon enough, I opened a book about the history of Witchcraft and Pagan rituals which are still practised today. Some of it made sense and some didn't so I kept on reading and wound up in a Spiritual bookshop full of crystals and incense talking to another customer about how it was all very new to me but was already making more sense than anything else previously had. Her name was Hollie and she invited me along to her coven's next meet to watch them celebrate Samhein. A few months later I was officially welcomed into their Chaos Coven and became a fully practising Witch.
My parents accepted my decision immediately without question and have always encouraged me to have faith in what I believe and the strength to be the best person that I can be. I finally feel that I'm on the right path, the one that fits me and my personality perfectly and I want any children I may have in the future to have the freedom to learn about the different Religions of the World and the chance to make up their own minds. Until that day comes, I will teach them the Creed and the rule of 3 because they are good solid guidelines about having Love and respect for the people around them. I will also try my best to teach them that if you think positive thoughts and really believe in yourself, then life has truly blessed you. Appreciate nature and do your bit to help the environment around you. If they show an interest in the rituals I practice and I feel they are old enough to observe and understand, then they can watch and have the opportunity to learn more. Its up to them at the end of the day and as long as they are still good kids with good manners and good hearts, I will always love and support them no matter what they choose to believe and have faith in.

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Zili
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Post by Zili »

My boyfriend's son is going to be exposed to 3 or 4 religions through out his life, his "auntie's" mother takes him to church, Michael's family is Jewish and they celebrate the Jewish holidays together, My family is catholic, and Michael and the auntie are Wiccan, and I'm a Native American spiritualist/shaman... but it will be along time before he even knows what's going on around him. He's only 3 months old and there's been only one ritual he's been a part of... because it was for him when he turned 1 month old.

he'll have an interesting religious up bringing lol

Y0m
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Post by Y0m »

I encourage everyone to _not_ except anything until they've investigated the truth for themselves.

This is why meditation is so valuble.
All I know is I love you.
That's about all I can do.

cloud
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Post by cloud »

i am 13 and think this will help parents to hear from a child i am force(which didnt work because here i am) to believe in god but i have hate it every seens i start CCD (a school that teachs(brain washs) the words(the lies) of god) i am a bit of a rebel so i love doing thing that make people that wrong me anger (which is wrong i know) so i resist as much as posibble as most kids would so you should make it known to your children that your ok if they dont want to be in your world and may choose what ever makes them happy and i would have love that choice(i still would have chose wicca though) but i do think they would want to know of their religion my parents choose and i think when they hit their teens u should ask them if they would like to follow that path and they are allow to say they arnt ready to choose and your should make sure that you make that clear(also make clear that you love them no matter what) because if you dont stubborn children (like me) will not follow the path because them think your making them or that your make it seem like a choice but its really not or if they are like me and they are in the ummmm hate (i really dont like when they say hate stage) stage they might not because they want to hurt you even if it hurts them in the long run
yeah yeah yeah im a kid but arnt we all

Rabbit145
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Re: Raising Pagan Children

Post by Rabbit145 »

I am not a parent, but I want to throw in my two cents anyway...I hope that's okay. :]

Warning, long post is long, but I think it's well worth reading.

First off, let me say that this is NOT an anti-christian rant. True, I have met some christian people who did some really awful things to me, but most of my friends are also christians, and they are truly wonderful people. There are good and bad people from every background and denomonation, religious or otherwise. I accept all spiritual paths as valid, as long as they cause no harm. I don't have any problems with christianity on a basic level, only the people (anonymous) mentioned below who hurt me, and people who have done/would do similar things. Woo, now that I've got that disclaimer off my chest...here we go.

I have always loved learning in general, but especially were mythology and theology are involved - I love learning about what people think, and how those thoughts came to be. I think children are healthier mentally and emotionally when they are exposed to different religions enough that they are comfortable asking any questions they have out loud. Don't tell them that they should believe in a particular religion, only tell them that they can if they want to, and that you love them unconditionally - the most important part is love. As long as your child knows s/he is loved, no matter what, they will be far less likely to feel the need to keep everything secret from you, which, in my case and many others, has resulted in depression.

When I was younger and in public school, I was pressured, bullied, and ultimately ostracized for rejecting christianity, which is by far the dominant faith where I live. In the second grade - the second grade! - I finally caved under all the intrusive questions and confirmed the suspicions of my then best friend (henceforth "A") and admitted that I was not a christian. I begged her not to tell anyone else because I was in a really dark place - I doubted myself, my friends and family, and religion of any sort because christianity was pushed on me so hard - I had never wanted a religion, and being forced into faking one never sat right with me, and I had a long way to go before I could be comfortable in my own skin again. The constant bullying had already forced me into a depression to the point that I seriously considered suicide on multiple occasions. At eight years of age. I had begun punching myself, slamming my head into walls, and scratching my arms and legs until I bled.

A ignored my plea, and told everyone in the class, and they proceeded to tell every student in the school. The very same day, only hours later, we had gone to recess, and I was physically attacked for the first time. Seven different girls ambushed me first - Two girls took each arm, two stood on either side of me in case I tried to run, and another stood in front of me with a little pocket-sized bible ("B") and they all tried to force me to say I believed in God. When I did not, the girls pulled at my arms, clothing, and hair, and started to hit me with the bible. We were in plain view of three different teachers the whole time, and despite my screams of, "Help! Let me go!" no one stood up to do anything. All the boys had retreated to the opposite corner of the yard, as far from me as possible, except for one who had previously stalked me who was on a swing, shouting as loud as he could, "Kaitlin doesn't believe! Kaitlin doesn't believe!" like a chant.

Not long after they started hitting/pinching/pulling me, I yanked my arms free, pushed B over (which I later apologized for during this same incident) and ran. Having had some basic training in self defense, and knowing these girls were not as strong as I was, I knew it would work. Unfortunatly, I did not take into account that four of these girls were much faster than me, and they got over the intial shock fast enough that I did not make it to the classroom door before they got to me. (My plan was to run directly to the principals office where nobody would dare assault me and call my mother for help.) I was tackled to the ground. Having hit my face on the mulch, I couldn't see much at all, and I was physically dragged backwards and pinned with my back to a brick wall in the same manner. It was a long walk, though, and they kept yanking me back and forth and slapping me across the face to keep me disoriented. Again, we were in full view of the same three teachers for the duration of the entire walk, and I know they could see the wall where I was pinned.

Once we got to the brick wall, I continued to struggle, and they punched me until I was subdued enough to be pinned down again. They asked if I believed in God, I said "No," and the four girls holding my arms would pull me slightly forward off the wall and slam me back into it as hard as they could, making my shoulders and the back of my head strike the wall. They did this eight times before A showed up and told them to stop. She whispered to B, and then they stopped hitting me and started trying to "reason" with me. I won't go into the details of the conversation here, as this is aready too long.

The next day, A apologized to me for what had happened - and I forgave her. She did not, however, apologize for her personal betrayal, and those are much harder for me to forgive, even all these years later. For almost a month, we all pretended like nothing happened. I went back to acting my old self, the girls went back to sitting with me at lunch, and the guys and I went back to drawing comics at recess. When I was at home, though, it was an entirely different matter - I barely spoke, I barely ate...I got off the bus, walked to A's house, my grandmother picked me up later, we drove home, I did my homework, and I went back to my room and...nothing. I didn't do anything - I had become so consumed by my depression that I would only lay on my bed, or wander aimlessly around my room, and I was entirely numb. I wasn't sad, I wasn't anything. I just stopped feeling.

One day, though, something just snapped in my brain, and I became as angry as I had been numb. I stopped chatting with my "friends" at school. My comics - now drawn while sitting alone - became steadily more violent before I stopped drawing entirely. If anyone tried to approach me, I snarled and glared and tried to pick a fight. The bullying escalated once again, after my second admission that I still did not believe in God. I was shoved against walls in the hallway, I was punched, I was tripped, slapped, poked, proded, pinched, teased, cursed at, and ostricized. I silently simmered in my rage for about a year and a half. I had enrolled in a karate class, where I had learned to slow down and channel my rage into the ability to beat the snot out of my sparring partners. I even set up "practice times" with a girl with a similarly aggressive disposition. We would drive over to a nearby park and head to a small clearing just out of site of her parents and my grandmother (they waited in their cars) and we would brawl for all we were worth until we had to return home. We had a mutual agreement to, a) not hit hard enough to cause any permanant damage and b) to never leave bruises in places we couldn't easily cover. (Whoa, double negative. *cringe* Sorry.) Another part of my anger was directed at christians in general - the only experience I had had with christianity was extremly negative, and I carried a lot of hate within myself for a long, long time, and I'm still struggling, five and a half years later, to let go of the last of it.

Then something else snapped in my brain.

This time, I felt illogically guilty about what had happened. I became meek, quiet, and, once again, depressed. I quit my karate classes, and stopped fighting at the park and at school. I blamed myself for everything that had happened, I began hitting and scratching myself again, and on top of it all, I started questioning my own faith, or lack thereof, and my sexual orientation. I trudged my way through the rest of the year with my grades quickly declining.

I began homeschooling the next year, which was a good chance for me to detach myself from people like that, start over, and begin to heal. I honestly believe that leaving that school when I did saved me from suicide. I had to go through another (albeit much shorter) cycle of depression-anger-guilt-depression again before I began moving on. I am much calmer now than I have ever been, and the freedom of being able to choose my religion that came with being separated from my attackers helped tremendously. If any of the people who bullied me sought me out and apologized, I would fogive them immediatly. I understand that they were motivated by fear, and did not understand the ramifications of what they had done. I do, however hold a grudge against those three teachers: these were reasonably intelligent grown women, and even while witnessing a phsyical assault that would later be drawn out over the course of three years none of them stepped forward to help me, and I resent that. On a similarly hurtful note, my mother never noticed the changes in my behavior.

Please, please don't let your child go through this. Make sure they know that you love them unconditionally, and know their normal patterns. You must teach your children tolerence.

If you suspect that something similar is going on, speak up. Teachers, if you see a child being confronted the way I was, get up and help. It is NOT a harmless game, it is NOT kids just being kids, and it is NOT something they just need to work out among themselves. It is an epidemic, and it needs to be stopped. I was beaten and terrorized for three years, and nobody, not once, ever stepped forward to help me.

So, I've made my case. To recap: Bullying is BAD. Tolerence is GOOD. Let your child learn as much as s/he wants to, but if you try to force him/her into any religion s/he does not want, it will cause your child nothing but pain. Personally, I would suggest waiting until your child is six or seven-ish to start teaching different mythos.

barefaced_mama
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Re: Raising Pagan Children

Post by barefaced_mama »

I have a one year old and have not yet started religion with him. I feel when he is older, probably at two I will start pointing out the elements in everyday life like when we grill, bath or garden. I always say prayer with/for him when he falls asleep in my arms. I would like to include him in ritual or prayer but it probably wont be for a many years. If he shows interest before then, I will create and/or research simple rituals and prayers for us to perform together. I will tell him the lore/ mythology etc as he grows but it will ultimately be up tohim in the end what he chooses.
Be curious. Explore everything. Expand your knowledge. Go as far as the road will take you.

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AutumnMaidens
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Re: Raising Pagan Children

Post by AutumnMaidens »

@Rabbit Your story hits so close to home it's scary, my teachers took it a step further screaming at me and telling me the abuse was my own fault, it would all stop if I would just be normal, if I would stop being so scary and strange. That's when I decided that teachers don't care, the rare individuals that care for any of their students make it worth being a student but I don't look for them and I don't expect anything from them.
Bless you and your strength, you are an inspiration to all of us.

@barefaced mama, a simple thing to teach them while growing up is a bedtime prayer like "Goddess of the moon, God of the sun, protect me and mine now day is done." It's simple and something they pick up rather quickly while growing up, and it's something fun to do together <3
"If you take a copy of the Christian Bible and put it out in the wind and the rain,
soon the paper on which the words are printed will disintegrate and the words will be gone.
Our bible IS the wind and the rain."
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