Parenting Pagan Children – A Personal View
Growing the Pagan child’s sense of spirituality
The uncanny thing about
children is how well they learn by copying those around them. This can be
both in the positive sense and also negative. They learn language and
skills like how to use cutlery, they learn social graces and they also
learn about the world around us.
I am a strong proponent of teaching
children about all aspects of spiritual life, exposing them to meditation,
ritual and reading of many different books from a very young age. These
books can be as simple as myths and legends of different pantheons, bible
stories and fables. I believe they should be emersed in the various
cultures that surround us and celebrate Chinese New Year, Christmas as
well as Yule and Ostara. I ensure they know when Hanukkah and Ramadan
occur and the reasons behind each festival.
I think one of the biggest mistakes
that some Pagan Parents make is they either teach their children nothing
about Christianity whether in some vague attempt to over compensate for
the exposure they get in the wider world or they give them no instruction
at all in anything with the intent that the child choose their own path
when they are old enough. This raises the first question When is old
enough? I believe you can only teach them from the day they are born. They
need to see you as the parent living their Pagan life. They need to
experience your joy in the world and your experience of nature. You must
include them in most things you do as a parent. Just as they tag along
when we go on outings and shopping and they learn about the world of
finance and retail marketing they need to attend circles and gatherings
and socialise with other pagans.
I do not believe and have never
found a single person who was given an early child hood absent of any
spiritual teachings that did not struggle through the world in some way.
Children need to have foundation stones from which to build their
sprirtuality even if all they do is reject the foundations of their birth
they are in a much better position to rebuild stronger foundations in the
Their foundations can be built
quite simply through reading myths at bedtime and watching movies that
depict similar themes. These are strengthened by answering any of the many
questions they may ask and being open to their own experience of the world
around them. Of course being a parent means you will look out for the
numerous pitfalls that children can be vulnerable to and try and protect
them from hurt however we must remember that they have to experience the
downs too to grow into stronger adults.
There are many rites of passage for
pagan children from “Naming Ceremonies” to “Coming of Age Rites”
these give the children a sense of belonging and a sense of identity. They
may turn their backs on this in the future and embrace more mainstream
beliefs but this usually isn’t the case.
With the wider community viewing
our beliefs and paths as “weird” or “strange” we must foster in
our children a strong sense of who they are and where they come from so
they are empowered to hold on to their beliefs. They must be raised to
know that although individual they are not alone and a part of a much
bigger picture. As Pagan Parents we need to instil in them a love of
nature and a respect for the earth that is increasingly an accepted part
of society in the changing globalised world. We need to allow them to
experiment with their ideas and be creative in their expression of their
belief. We need to allow them to participate in ritual and be responsible
for particular roles in ritual as they get older.
And we also need to ensure that
they remain true to themselves. That they embrace all aspects of their
personality, that they stretch themselves to persue their dreams and
become secure, stable yet unique adults.
I have been developing a theory
over the last 15 years that uses the Nine Intelligences as the core to
raising, teaching and empowering a strong balanced person. It works on the
theory that there are many aspects to intelligence and personality and
that it is only by addressing all aspects we can truly be whole people.
These used to be known as the Eight Intelligences but recently the Ninth
Intelligence, Spiritual Intelligence, was added.
This means that we can teach our
children the conventional lessons like maths and science and language but
we also need to ensure they learn music and dance and sports as well as
being exposed to social experiences. To round out the picture they need to
learn about what makes them tick and their place within the world and
things like meditation can help with this.
So starting as early as possible we
need to include them in our lives in a meaningful way. I mark each of the
festivals with a special table decorated for the season and with an array
of foods. I try and incorporate appropriate activities for each festival.
My youngest children are 3 ½ and 21 months and I choose what shows they
watch on television so they are encountering ideas and stories that
support our beliefs. These can be as varied as “The Fairies” and old
stories like fables and indigenous stories. We play music and dance around
and sing. We dress up like fairies and blow bubbles.
I have attempted to include a few
of these ideas on our web site but I am still developing the whole thing
into what I hope will be a good resource but I spend time online looking
for good places to utilise and recently have found a few good ones.
But the important thing to realise
is that no one is an expert at parenting. All you can know is your own
children and what their strengths are. You know what you believe and you
know who you are, we hope. This means you are in the best position to
parent your child on their pathway through life and provide them with the
safest and best example of how they should live.
Activities to expand the Pagan
Child’s Spiritual Mind
Plant a seasonal garden including herbs and
Organise a little “altar” table where they can
put special treasures
Go Beach walking
Visit the Botanic Gardens
Find a special tree
Throw a fairy party
Traditional Egg Hunts at Ostara
Make Play dough Tree Decorations for Yule
Help them make or choose a wand and other tools
Colour in mythical pictures
Colouring in Pictures for the Pagan Child
I have developed a collection of pictures specifically for Pagan Children and I will be adding to this collection each month. Click on an image to download larger copy.
Please feel free to request particular images
Dragonfly’s Competition Page
No Competition as No Sponsors have came forward in support.As there was no competition last month there are no winner’s to announce.
Dragonfly’s Recipe Corner
Imbolg – Winter turns to Spring
The fastest way to make a lesson mean something to a child especially a small one is to feed them the lesson…. I find they learn about the seasons faster if you keep the meal seasonal. This Imbolg we toasted marshmallows in front of the fire and decorated the table with blossom. This is one advantage of living in the hills in Adelaide… Beautiful Almond blossom sprouting into flower at this time every year. The bare branches of the trees surrounding an explosion of blossom. Willunga is famous for it's Almond Blossom festival at this time every year. The tree above is in the yard next door to us. We also have very seasonal produce available in the supermarkets here. There are also white flowers sprouting everywhere like jonquils and lilies.
The Pagan Alphabet
To learn your letters you must start